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Support for this American life comes from Squarespace. Squarespace is the all-in-one website platform for entrepreneurs to stand out and succeed online. Whether you're just starting out or managing a growing brand, Squarespace makes it easy to create a beautiful website, engage with your audience, and sell anything from products to content to time. All in one place, all on your terms. Head to squarespace. Com for a free trial. And when you're ready to launch, go to Squarespace. Com/american to save 10 % off your first of a website or domain. That's Squarespace. Com/american. A quick warning. There are curse words that are unbeeped in today's episode of the show. If you prefer a beeped version, you can find that at our website, thisamericanlife. Org. New York City, the Port Authority bus terminal. A very cold night, a few weeks ago. Explain what time it is, where we are, what we're doing.


It is 11:14 PM, and we are waiting for a Texas bus.


Texas bus with who on the side?


We don't know the number yet, but we have asylum seekers that are there that just come from the water.


This is one of the busses that Governor Greg Abbott sent to New York City, starting in the summer of last year. You probably heard about this. Hoping to make a point about what Texas is dealing with. He sent migrants on busses to cities run by Democrats, Washington, D. C, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, and New York. Over 27,000 people have arrived at this spot this way, where many of them have been by a five foot two black woman named Atimaba. How many nights a week do you do this?


I don't keep counting anymore.


But what's the most it gets? What's a hard week for you?


A hard week is every day a bus. I put the kids to sleep, and then I ran over here. I'm a mommy. And I'll make it back in time where they won't notice I'm gone.


Do they know you left? No. Thing is, Atima doesn't work for the city of New York. She runs a community center for newly arrived immigrants called Afrikaana. She's been doing this work with migrants for 18 years, for a long time just out of her car. Though she still does a lot of work from her car, going around the city where recent migrants are, talking to them in the car.


My car has been my office for years, and it's still my office.


I know there are certain things you always are sure that you keep in the car.


I have so many stuff, so Organizer 101 is always have a portable charger, paper and pen. I have toothbrush, toothpaste, peppermint, because I'm always talking to people. I don't want to be known as a lady with a bad breath. She could help you, but she has a bad breath. I have deodorant, emergency change of clothes, because sometimes it's not on purpose, but I spend overnight.


Have you had to sleep overnight here waiting for busses? Yeah, I have.


I have pillows, I have a blanket.


When the very first bus arrived from Texas in August 2022, it was migrant aid groups like Otmos who got advanced word that it was coming and greeted the bus, not the city. But soon enough, the city government got on board. Mayor Eric Adams showed up at the Port Authority to greet one of the busses, ready to prove that New York City is a city of immigrants that loves and welcomes immigrants.


I have to provide services for families that are here, and that's what we're going to do. Our responsibility as a city, I'm proud that this is a right to shelter state.


Right to shelter. That means that New York City had to provide temporary housing to anyone who needs it. The city took that seriously.


They started to show up. They set up operations.


And where did the city do its operation?


What was it? It's inside there in Port Authority.


Right through those doors here.


Right through those doors.


On that spot, the city would take people's names and information and then send them on to shelters. Groups like Otamas would hand out food, clothing, toiletries. As word got out, the New York City would house everyone who showed up, more and more people started arriving. Today, the 27,000 people the governor, Abbot, sent are just a tiny portion of the 150,000 who've shown up on busses, trains, cars, and planes since the spring of 2022. New York City was not set up to help this many people this way. The right to shelter was created for homeless men in the Bowery, not for thousands of new arrivals each week. By this fall, it was costing the city $10 million a night, and the mayor completely changed his tune. Yes, New York loves immigrants, but not this many this fast needing assistance. And the mayor became a one-man, unwelcome wagon, flying to Ecuador and Colombia and Mexico to hold press conferences saying don't come to New York. Declaring a state of emergency in the city, begging the federal government for help, which did not arrive. By October of this year, the city had spent over two billion and opened over 200 emergency shelters.


It had cut the amount of time that immigrants could stay in a shelter from as long as they needed to 60 days for families and 30 days for individuals. Finally, in October, New York went to court to change the law and suspend the right to shelter for the city. Mary Adams started saying that migrants will be sleeping on the streets. It's not a question of if, but when.


We're getting 10,000 migrants a month.


This is Mayor Adams this fall.


This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City.




Community in this city is going to be impacted. We have the $12 billion deficit that we're going to have to cut. Every service in this city is going to be impacted. All of us.


Or maybe it's not quite that bad. The city chief fiscal officer, the controller, says the mayor is overblowing the effects of the migrants on the city's budget. And one political question in New York is whether the mayor is now scapegoating the migrants to push through budget cuts he'd hope to do anyway. Though it is true that money is tight. One day, Fatima says, city personnel just didn't show up at Port Authority anymore to greet immigrants.


They just stopped. They didn't tell us that they were stopping. The same day, they just told us they were closing operations, but they didn't give us a reason. They didn't give us... They didn't work with us. They didn't give us a heads up. They just shut it down.


Which brings us to why Fatima is here, where our kids are with their parents at home sleeping. If she weren't here, this bus that's arriving from Texas would drop off a few dozen people in this alley between 41st and 32nd street. A couple of national guardsmen would sleeply emerge in the car they're sitting in across the street and hand out an address to go to and a map. They'd have to make their way there on their own. The address is for the Rosarell Hotel, which the city is set up as the intake center for migrants arriving in New York. A 20-minute walk from here, right through the center of Times Square.


We're here to welcome them and then actually safely send them there.


Atima's organization has hired a bus.


So what I'm going to do is put them in the bus and send them straight to the Roozeva and tell them, Please give them food right now. And then they will give them sandwiches and water.


The other thing she's going to do is get on the bus and give them a little speech. The bus driver will translate to Spanish. The speech is partly practical. She gives out a phone number. They type in their cell phones for somebody they can call once they're in a shelter to direct them to the services they need. But also she's doing this herself, the head of the organization, in the middle of the night, bus after bus because she thinks it's important that somebody says welcome just in some basic human way to people who have come so far full of worry and fear and hope.


So as a former asylum seeker, I didn't get that welcome party. My parents didn't get that welcome party. So I am doing it for them.


But the thing you say is just so I understand. So the thing you're going to say is what? Give me the speech.


So the first step is, Buenvenidos in New York. You are in New York City, in Manhattan, in Port Authority. We want to welcome you. We're going to count you, and we're going to put you in another bus and transport you to Rooseveltel, where there's a bathroom, there's water, there's food, and there's Wi-Fi. The WiFi always gets them.


She does them that her organization can help with clothing, legal aid, anything else they need help with.


And then we tell them, Listen, this is a country of immigrants. I am an immigrant. I am from Africa. I am from Ginnett. I'm an immigrant just like you. I made it, and you will make it. It's not easy in the beginning, but it will get better. You're welcome here. No matter what anybody tells you, you have rights. Practice those rights. If you don't know what they are, we will tell you what they are, and then we let them out.


Okay, time check. What time is it? 11:50.


You should be pulling up. You want a pepper mint? No? Okay. Here you go. We've been.


Standing in the cold for over an hour. Random people walk up to Fatima to start conversations or ask for directions. She just seems like the person you can do that with. At around quarter past midnight, she reveals something that I can't believe I'm learning after standing there so long together.


I have my pajamas on.




These are my pajamas.


Are you serious? I am. Oh, my God, it's true. Those are checked teal and navy pajamas.


I know. And I was like, Oh, that don't look like dressing up.


Okay, so you're wearing maroon coat and teal and navy pajamas, dark blue hijab, backpack.


I'm ready to walk the runway.




Finally, more than an hour after that, 1:30 in the morning, the bus from Texas rolls up. Okay.


You cannot go inside, so you just have to wait here.


The bus door opens. She climbs the steps, stands at the front of the bus, and makes her speech. But she does the job. When everybody emerges from the bus after the three-day ride, they are not the exhausted huddled masses that I expected they'd be. People are beaming, excited.




Carry suitcases. Some carry plastic garbage bags filled with their stuff. Am I terrible or high school Spanish? I asked where they're from. And families look so happy when they answer. -de don't.


De viene? -venezuela. De Venezuela.


De don't.


De viene.




Honduras. Colombia. Yde don'te? Colombia. Colombia. Venezuela..


They tell me they've been traveling for a month and a half, two months, three months. It's a dangerous trip for many of them through the Darién Gap. Most are from Venezuela, a lot of Colombia. There was one family with the dad, proudly, shouted his answer like, I don't know about these people, but I definitely belong here. That guy has family in New York, and we're on the way to come pick him up. But as everybody else got into the other bus, Atima arranged and headed over to the migrant welcome center at the Roosevelt Hotel. A once glamorous thousand room beemuth that fills a block of 45th Street, a place where back in the day you might spot JFK or Eisenhower or Guy Lombardo. That is now the city's new Ellis Island, the entrance point.


Vandima guides everyone off the bus into the lobby..




Much Spanish do you speak now?


None. The welcome.


Center at the Roosevelt Hotel is one part of the city's response is pretty well run. They have legal services to help you apply for asylum. There are free diapers and warm food to replace your meds. The city started doing this when a kid showed up whose meds for epilepsy had been seized by Border Patrol. From here, they'll send you to one of the over 200 shelters around the city, which are mostly not as nice as this. Some are in school, gymnasiums, office buildings. If you have family elsewhere in the country, there's a desk here where New York City will happily buy you a plane ticket to go live with them and not be New York's problem anymore. A fourth of the arrivals take that option. As this year ends, New York City is entering some new phase of this massive experiment at welcoming and providing services for so many new arrivals. It's put some 20,000 kids into schools. It's housing right now 60,000 migrants. Knowing lots of ways, it has not gone so well. It hasn't put newcomers on paths of jobs and places to live. But has any American city ever done this much for new arrivals on this scale?


Mayor Adams has pointed out some cities do nothing. Texas, Governor Abbott does nothing.


I was on the border in El Paso. I saw what happened with people and children and families sleeping in airports, sleeping on the street. So don't critique what.


We've done.


Don't tell us how we could have done it better. Our hearts are big, but our resources are not endless. The way it goes, New York goes America. And if we don't get it right in New York City, we're not going to get it right in America.


Today in our show, we look at the city desperately trying to prove that it can be the sanctuary city it thinks it is. We look at the messy, flawed, generous, impossible, vast New York migrant experiment, how it's going, where it works, and where it fails so badly that people have accused New York of deliberately doing horribly. So immigrants decide not to stay in the city. What it's like to arrive here and make your way right now in New York. I'm W. B. Z. Chicago, this is American Life.


Stay with us.




No Sleep till Brooklyn. Let's start with what's probably the most difficult thing New York City has faced with these new migrants figuring out where to house them. It's hard to find appropriate spaces, and some neighborhoods really don't want them.




Is Staten Island, living up to every stereotype New Yorkers have about Staten Island when a migrant shelter got put there. There have also been protests in Brooklyn and Queens. With that in mind, the city opened up a new facility a month ago that the mayor said was chosen to be, quote, the least intrusive as possible to current residents while also being as humane as possible to migrants. It is not in a building. It's four massive tents that together can house 2,000 people at a place called Floyd-Bennett Field. One of our producers, Valerie Kipness, visited right after it opened.


When I first heard that Floyd, Benefit was going to be the city's newest migrant center, it struck me because I knew exactly where it was in the middle of nowhere. I can say that with some degree of certainty because I grew up in the same middle of nowhere, or at least close by. It's called Floyd, Benefield, but to me, it's always been the abandoned airport, slash, place with the massive ice hockey rink, slash, random chunk of land you passed just before Rockaway Beach. It's right on the water. There's not a lot of street lights or ways to get there unless you're in a car or on a bike. And if you're driving around at night, it feels like you're in the middle of the woods, not New York City. I wondered what it was like to get sent there as someone brand new to the city. So I went out with Jika Gonzalez. She's a reporter I've worked with before who covers immigration. We arrived at around desk. There was a faint glow of cop cars near a massive encampment lit up by fluorescent lights. And there were the tents, surrounded by giant metal fence and security guards.


Jika and I arrived unannounced, hoping to talk to people hanging out around the shelter. But that night was actually so cold that there was basically no one outside, except for this one group of adults with some kids. The kids were blankets over their heads, trailing on the ground behind them. Cute, but cold, like little ghosts. Actually, they were on their way out in a rush.


Trying to go.






Street. The Rooseveltell hotel, back to the welcome center. The little girl's name is Carlina, but she goes by Carly. She's eight, has big sister energy, piggtails that some wasps of hair have escaped from. She walks back and forth from heel to toe as she talks. Her family arrived here only a few hours ago, and now they're leaving because this place isn't what they thought it would be.


They thought it was a hotel. They thought it was a hotel. They said.


They were going to send us to a hotel, but it wasn't a hotel. It's a campsite, says one of the men, where we're all sleeping on cots, and we need our privacy for the kids. You understand? In the bathrooms, they're not in the main tent. You have to go outside to use them. Sometime along the way, they began to wonder about public transportation. How are the kids going to get to school from here? The closest train station is over four miles away. Rafael, Carlina's dad is like, How will I find work from here?




Why we're looking for shelter, so that way we can start working, earning our own money like you. That way we can rent a house and take care of our expenses, you understand? They told us we were coming to a hotel, but then suddenly, when we were on the way here, we realized that this is like a desert, an island in the middle of nowhere. The city says it shows people photos of the tents and maps of where they'll be going. But I later talked to other people here, and no one I spoke to had been shown photos. Lots of them were surprised when they arrived. Carlina, her dad, Rafael, and the whole family, basically as soon as they arrived, started thinking, We can't stay here. There has to be something else. Rafael seemed determined. He wanted to talk to the person who assigned them here, someone at the Roosevelt Hotel on 45th Street. They needed to get back. This group turns out there are two families from Venezuela, the capital, Caracas. A mom named Daniela, her husband, Rafael, also her brother, Ronnie, and his family, and two other guys who they met along the way.


Consider their journey up to this point, the one that got them to these giant tents in the middle of an abandoned airfield. They left Caracas in late summer and for three months made their way through Central America, to Mexico, to Piedras Negras, and then into Texas. After they crossed, they were offered a choice of three buses: Chicago, Denver, or New York. They knew Venezuelans in New York City who said they could get help here, that the kids could go to school, that the adults could find work. So they chose New York.. Daniela, Carly's mom says they were told they'd get a place to live for two months. We could rest and look for work to move forward, you understand? So we decided to come to New York because we'd get help here. But here, it is something else. Here has been confusing. You arrive at the Roosevelt Hotel in the middle of the city with the warm lobby, the breakfast, the bag check, the shelter assignment, the moment of stillness after months of chaos. And then you get put on this bus and it starts driving you away from the place you've been imagining, away from all the skyscrapers.


And suddenly you're in this other place, far away from the crowds of Grand Central. And then you get off the bus and you're processed in a place that looks very much like a tent because it is a tent. It is something else.


So the family had decided to leave and somehow try to make it back to 45th Street. The only way out seemed to be a city bus in a parking lot. The neon sign scrolling across its front red, not in service. There was a man nearby in a transit authority uniform with a walkie talkie who seemed stressed out by the whole situation.


I got like 15 people here.


That want to get on the bus, but they've never been speaking.


I figure out where they want to go. I cannot go off route, right?


While he's talking, he starts walking towards the parked bus. So the group decides they better follow him. They have almost no belongings, just a few plastic bags of stuff. The kids run ahead.


Bye. Bye. Ciao.


The kids climb onto the bus, go to the back. Some of them lay down. They look exhausted, sleepy. The adults have no idea what's going on, where the bus is going or anything. The crowd near the entrance of the bus. There's another bus driver already on board. The bus driver with the walkie-talkie gets on as well. Neither of them speak Spanish. It falls to Jika to translate for them.




Sorry, they're just asking me where the bus is taking them.


Coney Island. It's really unclear what's happening. I later learned that this is a new bus the city set up to shuttle people from the shelter to a subway station. But at this moment, in the first days of the shelter's operation, the driver seems a bit unsure about where he's going. He starts looking through his paperwork. Yes, Coney Island. Coney Island is not near 45th Street in the center of Manhattan. It's in the opposite direction.


I was going to Coney Island by the train.


So you're only taking them to the train station?


Correct. What if.


They want to go to the... I think they're trying to go to the Rooseveltale on 45th Street.


You can't go off route. That's my instructions. I'm going.


To translate for them. Is that okay?




Jika is trying her best to explain to them in Spanish what he means. She's like, You're in a part of New York that is called Brooklyn, and where you're trying to go is Manhattan. It's two different counties. They're called boroughs here. They ask Jika, How are we supposed to transfer or pay for a train. We just got to the city. We have no money. The family keeps asking to go to 45th Street the same way they got here. And the driver keeps repeating he can't go off route that he can only take them to Coney Island, nowhere near where they want to go. The bus driver with the walkie talkie steps out, takes a call, and then comes back. He says maybe he could find someone at the subway station to help the family out, but it'll be a long trip. A bus ride to Coney Island, then like an hour on the subway back to 42nd Street.


They're just skeptical about if anybody's actually going to help them or not because they feel like they were already not really helped and that nobody speaks.


Spanish and that it's very confusing.




They'll just drop us off there and go on with their day, Ronnie says. They did that to us already. Walkie-talkie dude goes out again and comes back with a solution. He's found a dispatcher at Coney Island who speaks Spanish. He's going to open the gate, let them in, and direct them to the right train.


He's going to speak.


Spanish to them, but show them how to go. He told me it's easy.




Just the train straight.


It's just one train, that's it.




Going to take.


The train from there.


And the.


Dispatcher speaks Spanish.


So he's going to get them on.


Jika turns and translates. You can see the adults start to relax a little. So maybe it'll work out? It's as if the entire system relies on the kindness of strangers, as if it works by coincidence, not design. Coincidence that someone here speaks Spanish to translate. Coincidence that the bus driver is kind and willing to find a Spanish speaker at the next point in their journey. Hopefully, that guy can help them get on the train to 42nd Street. And hopefully at that station, someone can direct them to the hotel. For Rani, it all seemed like a very long way to get back to where they had just been.




Send us here to some camp. If they had said that from the beginning, we would not have decided to come. Jika asks, What if this was the only option? Would you stay here?




Ronnie says no. A city spokesperson told me that you can't choose a shelter. You get one assigned. And if you don't want to stay there, then you're on your own.




Asks, And if it was this or the streets?




We'd figure it out. Maybe walking around will find help.


He's saying at what time is the bus leaving here?


Right now?






I already told him. He's looking for you, okay?


Thank you. Thank you so much.


And with that, they left. We texted a bit when they got back to the Roosevelt. But then we stopped hearing from them. I think maybe they got a new SIM card. Jika went there a few days later, but couldn't find them. I went back to Floyd, Benefield to see if I could find them. But no luck.


Valerie Kipness is a producer on our show. She reported this with help from Jika Gonzalez. Act Two, 150 days of bummer. The city's plan for all these new migrants is that they get out of the shelters and find their own places to live, which means making money so they can pay for that place to live. And there's the rub. Most asylum seekers can't work legally when they first arrive, so they have to figure something out. One of our producers, Diane Woe, met somebody in that situation.


I met Shukruid outside a city office on a rainy day while he was making a last attempt to get shelter. He was taking a smoke break while he waited for the verdict inside. So much of this whole experience is about waiting. I asked him a throwaway question I was asking everyone. What was your first day in New York like?


It's like a surprise. I don't know. In our country, we say, Subhan Allah.


Subhan Allah. It's a phrase in Arabic. I looked it up later. It means something like, wow, praise God and this incredible thing he made.


It's like a feeling for religion.


Like a sacred feeling to see? Yeah. Shakud, that's not his real name by the way, we're choosing to protect his identity. He's from Mauritania. He's 23. He was a student there studying bank assurance, which I had to look that up to, something to do with banks and insurance. Shakroud's first language is Arabic. English is his third, and he started learning it in July of this year. July, that was five months ago. Can you believe that?


I studied in my country.


Like in school?


No, in my phone.


In your phone? Okay. He found a YouTube channel and watched it basically nonstop for a week, then found an app to practice on. His teenage sister teased him about it, but that was no way to learn a language. But apparently it was. The recruit is black, and part of the reason he left Mauritania was to escape racial discrimination there. He arrived in New York in late August and was assigned to a shelter on 31st Street that got shut down in October because of the fire code. The city moved him to a new shelter, which also got shut down a few weeks later, which is how he ended up at this office today to apply for a new bed. He told me he'd been sleeping on the streets for a couple of days, spending the nights in an African restaurant near Penn Station that was open late and in the tiny mosque in the restaurant's basement. Shakroud finishes his cigarette and goes inside to check if there's a bed for him or not, comes out with bad news.


They couldn't find any place for us. We have to go.


Oh, where are you going to go?


Back to the max in the restaurant.


Did they give you a reason?


They said it's because it's raining right now and all the shelter is full, the shelter is full. But we can't complain. We can't complain.


Okay, well, good luck. I'm going to text you later, see how it goes. Okay, nice to meet you today.


Nice to meet you too.


I found Shakroot again a week later, and I was surprised and relieved to hear that a day or two after we first met, he'd found a place to stay. The friendly owner of a smokeshop near his old shelter heard that Shakroot had been on the street in the cold and said he wanted to help him out. He had an empty space that he rented to accrue and two of his friends. Not a real apartment, more like a basement. Two rooms and a bathroom for $1,600 a month, around $500 a person. Their first night in the new place, the three of them had been so excited to finally have their own spot that they stayed up all night talking about how to make it perfect. They decided to get a special tea set from Mauritania. All of this is basically what city wants, for people to find their way out of the shelters and out into the world. But once you do that, there's rent to pay. And Chagrude can't legally work because he's an asylum seeker. And asylum seekers have to wait 150 days after they file for asylum before they can even apply for working permission.


This specific waiting period was invented by the federal government in the 90s to discourage people from using asylum claims as a way to get work authorization. What do you think of that system?


Yeah, it's like it's... There is no big deal because every country has stuff to do with this- These rules. Yeah, but 150 days, it's a long time.


The mayor of New York and other mayors have been yelling at the federal government to change this. We cannot help all these people get on their feet if you let them into the country, but then don't let them work for six months. Because Shakroud can't get a job legally, he's had to look for one under the table. He started right when he first got here in August. He didn't have any connections in New York, so his initial strategy was this. He just got up one day and started walking in and out of stores and restaurants, asking for work all over the city.


I go to the Queens, Brooklyn, some place, I don't know even his name.




The Bronx? Yeah.


So you would just walk in and what would you say? What would happen?


I just go inside the store or the building and say hi, make a conversation like this, say hi, how's it going? I ask them that I'm looking for work, I'm looking for a job. Some people ask, What job do you like? I say, I don't have a specific everything like dishwasher, sticker, cusher. Everything I can do it. Some people say, No, we are not hiring right now. Some people say to write my name and my number and they will tell me, Yeah, I write my name and my number and going. Yeah.


How many hours each day would you spend looking for jobs?


Seven hours, six hours. Yeah.


Just walking around, going into every shop and being like, I'm looking for work.


Yeah. I think seven, six hours a day.


He went to so many places that sometimes he'd accidentally go back to the same one without realizing it.


They say, you ask us before. Yeah, I say so. Yeah, it's very funny.


Did anybody ever call you back?


No, not much. Not yet.


There was one golden job that didn't seem to require work permission, but there was another reason Shakrud couldn't do it.


I find only one works, but it's for with alcohol.


With alcohol? Shakrud had wandered into a bar thinking it was a restaurant, and they were hiring somebody to help stock the alcohol. But Shakroud is Muslim, and for him, it's forbidden to drink or work with alcohol.


He tell me that he needs somebody to be a stalker. He try to make me to do this. He said, here, pay 4,000.




Thousand? Four months, yeah.


Four thousand a month? Yeah. Okay. What did you say?


Yeah, I said it's a good salary, but not for me. I cannot do this. He said, Why? I said, Because I'm Muslim. He said, Yes, there is not big deal there because there is a people Muslim drinks. I said, Not me.


That was the one job you found and you couldn't.


Do it. It's only that job I have. I find it, but I couldn't do it.


Shakrud ran this grueling and fruitless job hunt for around 20 days, then gave up. It was the worst part of his time in New York, he told me. Worst than having nowhere to sleep. After that, he had a month where he was just adrift, staying in the shelter, spending his days riding the subway with a friend, getting off at random stops. He also had a brief diversion into dating, which he told me about bashfully and proudly at the same time. He met a woman one day in Washington Square Park. She was an American. What was your first interaction?


It was like standing and watching people making dance and I say, You're beautiful. I think you have to get number.


That's the first thing you said to her, You're beautiful. Can I get your number? That worked?


Yeah, it's not work like this. She said that she's so old for me because it have 28 years.


She's she was 28 and you're 23.


She said I'm so young for her. Yeah, I said this doesn't matter.


He chatted her up for 10 or 15 minutes and then did get her number. They went on a couple of dates. One at the High Line, another park, and talked a bunch.


And she asked me to tell her about myself, my job, where did I live? Yeah, and I tell her.


He was straight with her. He told her he lived in a shelter, didn't have a job. She laughed and said.


That's funny to looking for girls for relationships and living in a shelter. She said that's funny.


Yeah. What did.


You say? I said, Okay. Yeah. After that, I called her. She didn't reply. I know that's because what I told her.


Shakroud told me he didn't feel sad or care much, just deleted her number. He hasn't tried to date anyone else since then. After that, he asked a guy in the shelter about how to get into doing food delivery, a really common job for new immigrants in New York, where you rent an E-bike or scooter and start making a few bucks per delivery. The tricky thing about it is getting an Uber Eats or DoorDash account because opening one requires a social security number, which Shakrud doesn't have. But there's a whole shadow market of accounts available. Shakrud met some account dealer outside the TD Bank at 37th Street in Broadway one day. Paid him $150 for an account that was supposed to be active for two weeks. He got kicked off after two days. Later on, a friend helped him find an Uber Eats account. That's what he spends most days doing now since mid-October, riding his rented green bike around town. How many deliveries would be a good day?


Twenty. Twenty-three.


The best day he'd had, he'd made $150. But the day I talked to him at 5:00 PM, he'd only made all day, which doesn't get him much closer to making rent. So you have four months, five months before the work permit comes. What's your plan for the next four months?


I just try to stay alive. Try to what? To still in a life and to still have a place to be safe.


Yeah, that's all.


To be safe. When we talked in late November, Shakroud kept bringing up the snow. He's worried about biking once the weather gets bad. That's what's on his mind right now. How to survive the winter and make it till he can get that work permit. A hundred and twenty eight more days.


Diane Woe is a producer on our show. Coming up, a big dance number solves everybody's problems, just like in the movies. That's in a minute. From Chicago Public Radio, when the program continues. To smirking life from Iroquois. Today's program, Stand Clear the Closing Doors, which is the thing that they say on the New York subway. And it also is the mayor's message to any asylum seekers who still want to come to New York today. We have stories today about the unprecedented thing that New York City is trying to house and feed and settle so many immigrants all at once with the city government picking up the tab, we have arrived at Act Three of our show, Act Three, Logubuy, Broadway. When we started putting this episode of our show together a few months ago, one thing that we noticed was that so many new immigrants to New York on social media were posting pictures of themselves in Times Square. Like, Look, we made it. Sometimes these were after posts where you would see them covered in mud, dredging their way north to the United States. If you go to Times Square and look around, there, in the middle of the tourists and the families who came in from the suburbs, to the Lion King and the costume, Spiderman and Elmos, are these newcomers.


This was literally the first spot we came to when we got here. We arrived right here. Did you takea picture?


Yeah, of.


Course, we took pictures.


Kenny and his son, Nestor, got here from Venezuela a year ago, he said. Now they were back on the corner of 45th Street on the way into a McDonald's. They come to Times Square every now and then, look at the big screens, hang out. Maybe 50 feet from them, a guy in a gray hoodie with a Colombian team logo on it was with his friends on a bench. They had beers. The guy in the hoodie, Mateo, has been here for a year, he told us. That wasn't true for everybody in the group.


We just came here right now because one of my friends just got here. He's been here for only two days. Now he moved here to the US.. No, so we've crossed all the way from the Darien Gap to come here.


It took four months, he said. I asked if he was going to take a photo here in Times Square, and he said, Nah.


We don't have any phones because we actually got kidnapped in Mexico and we got robbed. Up on.


46th Street, in front of the statue of songwriter, Jorge M. Kohan, a Venezuelan couple with five little kids came out to look at the lights and just get everybody out of the house. On seventh Avenue, a 26-year-old sitting on a bench was here for her third time, and she explained the appeal. She liked seeing the huge video screens. They're pretty.


I just come because there's a lot of people, there's a lot of traffic, a lot of movement. I'm usually alone at home, so I want to distract myself and just come see something else. You're on the.


Phone right now?


I was talking to a friend right now. I'm actually showing her where I'm at, showing her Times Square. Where's your friend? She's in Chile. She's in Chile right now.


That's where.


You're from? I'm from Peru. She's happy because I'm living a dream that I had spoken to her about for a long time, and she's very happy that I'm doing it right now. My dream was to get to know New York, come here, and it's gone pretty well for me, so I'm actually very happy, thank God. Yeah, this is the country of fashion and big screens and all of that. She's been.


In the US for six months now. She was one of the people I talked to who did not have a difficult or dangerous journey here. She flew to Mexico, walked across the border, got picked up by Border Patrol and requested asylum. Then she flew from Texas to New York City. She's now sharing an apartment in the Bronx with a friend. Has gotten used to the subway, doesn't get lost anymore. She's working at a Burger King. I'm picking up English words and phrases.


See you tomorrow..


Leaning on the side of a newsstand may be a block from her, was a kid who, I am I, M. I. Interpreter, Ramon, could not figure out at all. Sixteen years old, Ecuadorian. I've been here for four months living with this family who seemed to be doing okay, parents working. He said he was going to high school and had a job at a supermarket called Western Beef. But he said he would come to Times Square three times a week, every single week, stay for hours. But for the life of us, Ramon and I could not understand why. When we first walked up, this kid, his name is Junior, was watching some street performers.


I'm just watching the show right now, seeing how people can showcase their talents.


You come a lot, though, every week. What do you do usually?


I'm just walking around and watching people do their thing, maybe learn something.


Tell me one of your favorite places to go here. This went nowhere. He likes to sit on the Red Bleacher sometimes on 47th. Do you meet people here and talk to them? No, he doesn't. Is this your favorite place in New York? Not really. Junior, we don't totally understand why you come back so often. We understand you like it, but we don't totally understand why. Say more about that. Why do you come so often?


What I had told you before, that's why. And with.


That, we throw inthe towel. Ramon and I walked around to the other side of the newsstand that Junior was leaning on, where there was an 11-year-old street performer with a handwritten sign with his name, Oscar. Ramon noticed that his last name, which was written on the sign, was the same as Junior's, and asked him if he was here alone.


Now I'm here with my brother.


Is your brother Junior? Over there? Yeah, Junior. Yeah, yeah. And he comes with you to take.


Care of you? -[spanish 00:00:28] -[Spanish 00:00:28] Of course, yeah, he's my brother. When we returned.


To Junior, he'd been watching us talk to Oscar. He was laughing, I guess. Like, yeah, busted.


Yeah, that's my brother right there singing.


How much money does.


He make? I would say he makes around 150 a night. A bad night.


Would be more like 50. Night before this, Saturday night, he did 200. Oscar just loves singing. Ever since he was little, back in Ecuador.


Yeah, and O'Seal. Yeah, it's my passion. To your.


Friends at school know that you.


Sing in Times Square? Yeah, they know. I tell them.


And what.


Do they think? Well, they came to see me here.


On Monday. This was his friend, Marcel, who came to see him. He goes to seventh grade with Marcel. Oscar says he would have been in eighth grade in Ecuador, but when he got here in New York City, they put him in seventh, was a bummer. Anyway, Marcel came with his parents. Oscar says they put $10 in the box. Junior was like, maybe it was more like one or two. Oscar saving up to buy an accordion. His favorite singer is Mark Anthony. We asked for a Mark Anthony song.


Oscar belts.


Oscar belts out his song in a shiny new black winter coat that he must have bought him here in America. I'm watching him think about how many singers and musicians and songwriters have walked down this exact seven or eight blocks with the dream of making it here in New York City. He keeps an eye on the crowd as he belts out his song. People drop dollar bills. He really does seem to love singing. But like so many of us who move to this city, at some point, your dream also turns into a job. That is very New York.




Call the new kids. There were 20,000 of these new migrant kids enrolled in New York City Schools at the start of the school year. Which schools they arrived in was random. That was due last year, too.




Would say we went from September to December with.


No students, and then all of.


A sudden it was generic.


It's like, Oh.


You're getting these students. This is a school counselor at a middle school. He asked that we not name it. The school is about 350 students on the small side and pretty diverse. One day, this guidance counselor heard that some of the new migrant kids have been crying and hiding in the bathroom. The counselor doesn't speak Spanish. The kids don't speak English. They had these traumatic experiences coming to the United States and he couldn't even talk to them about it. He felt like he was failing his students. In the end, like so many people on today's show, he just had to jury-rig something himself to deal with the problem. He found a couple of Spanish-speaking grad students who were studying counseling and had them come by and they did a handful of counseling sessions with the new students. In these counseling sessions, a surprising thing happened. Some kids wanted to talk about their journeys, but that was not the big thing they were interested in discussing. The one thing they really wanted to talk about was middle school. They're 11 year olds, 12 year olds, 13 year olds, and they're just trying to figure out the same stuff any middle school might.


One of our producers, the Viva to Kornfild, went to this middle school to spend a day talking to kids about what it is like to settle in a New York City middle school. She talked to three of them.


The first kid I met was Celenis. She was in an English language class, one of about 20 kids sitting in neat little rows. Celenis is the tiniest one in class. She sits in the back row with front row posture. She's a total Hermione Granger, very organized, loves knowing the right answer to a teacher's question. She came to the US knowing a little English already, but most of the other migrant students don't speak any English at all, so they're constantly asking Celenis for help in class, which she has mixed feelings about.


It's like, Celenis.


Do this for me. Slene, help me with that. I help them all with homework because I don't like them just copying my work. I tell them to at least write it differently. And sometimes I just get fed up with helping and tell them to leave me alone. The reason all these kids keep asking Slenees for help is because the school only has eight Spanish speaking adults to help translate for 45 kids, none of whom speak even conversational English. So lots of kids just sit through class after class without a clue about what's going on. The school does have an ENL class, English as a New Language. Though the teacher doesn't speak Spanish. The thing Celenis wanted to talk to me about was her grades. She's stressed about them. Back in Ecuador, Celenis was a top student. The best in her class five years in a row. Here she says she's doing pretty well, except for in Humanities and Math. Humanities is hard because there's just so much talking in that class. It's all in English. It's hard to keep up.


And Math is difficult because the vocab is.


All weird.


The teacher will start talking about fractions.




Hard to know if the word the teacher is saying, in this case, fraction, is a word in English that she just doesn't know yet, or if it's a new word for everyone, even the English speakers.


She's worried the teachers don't realize how much harder it is for the migrant kids trying to learn in a foreign language. I talked to a school counselor about this, and he said the teachers definitely do realize that and take that into account. They're planning to grade the kids on a curve, weigh in participation much more than they normally do, which sounds like a kindness in the short term, but not a real solution. So much of successfully navigating middle school has nothing to do with what you learn in the classroom. Celenis told me that there are all kinds of things she's having to figure out about being a middle schooler here, like rules. There are so many more rules here. Celenis, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a fan of rules. But figuring out what's considered right and wrong, that's been a bit of a learning curve. The other day, she was playing with her friend, but then got sent to detention for being too rough.


They're too rough.


She says that she and her friends always play roughly. And so they never get hurt. They understand it's a game. I ask her if her teachers understood that.




Understand that we're playing, but said that we still shouldn't play that way. I asked one of the Spanish-speaking teachers, who knows Celenis well about this incident. She said the principal showed her the security footage of the girls, and it was clear to her that they were playing. Though she could see why it would look alarming to the principal. I asked Celenis if she often found herself breaking rules simply because she didn't understand them. And she said.




Sometimes she understands the rules fine, but just wants to play like she used to.




Second girl I talked to was Sophia. And by that, I mean, she talked to me. She was very set on talking to me because she had a lot to say all at once, like how she likes science class because her teacher is a lizard, and how she wants to be an actress or maybe a.


Veterinarian, and.


How her favorite word to say in English is water. She likes how it sounds. Water. I think school is going okay for her? It was a little hard to tell. She pinballed from subject to subject. Everything just seemed to fall under the category of things I'd like to share, even how hard it was to come to the US from Ecuador..




And her family didn't eat for two days. In the same breath, she'll tell me about how scared she was that her family might get robbed, and also how cool it is that New York City looks just like it did in the movie King Kong. Other kids did this, too. It was this very weird dissonance talking to them because they're so excited to tell you about themselves, but they've also lived through real hardship. So they're clamoring over one another, all simultaneously trying to tell me about devastating experiences in these jerpy little voices. They just want to share whatever it is, heavy or light, like it all has equal weight. The last girl I talked to was named Meriane. I wanted to meet her because a teacher mentioned she was putting together a dance for all the girls. Mariane is gawky, and carries herself like a baby giraffe, except for when she's dancing, which she's often doing. She tells me that after school, she likes to listen to music and dance while she cleans her room. And recently, one afternoon, she had an idea.




Was dancing and I was like, I want everyone to see my dance. She decided to choreograph something for the girls to perform during the winter dance. It seemed like a good bonding opportunity. She'd come up with the idea shortly after a spot over some candy with some other girls. The kids often argue about food. Just the other day, the librarian had to intervene in an altercation involving a cup of noodles. Mariane wanted to do something about all the fighting, so she came up with a solution straight out of Disney channel. Let's make a dance to bring everyone together. She invited the rest of the girls to participate. Nearly 20 of them wanted in, which is a big deal for Mariane because she used to hate school back in Venezuela, got bullied terribly. But here, in some ways, she finds it's easier to make friends because all the migrant kids are stuck together.


Today is the first rehearsal. We all head downstairs where Mariana is going to teach everyone to dance. The room is a real dance studio with mirrors and a ballet bar..




In their socks. And Mariane gets right to it, walking them through the steps.


The dance is exactly what you'd imagine a middle school girl might choreograph in her bedroom.




Was nice to see the kids in this setting where there was room for all their personalities. Sophia is running around, bouncing off the walls. Celene, the little Hermione Granger, wanted to know the exact count of all the moves. And since she had gone to a ballet academy back in Ecuador and had some experience with performing, insisted on making this announcement..


If during the performance, the music stops for some reason, just keep dancing. Good advice. If a little premature, they barely learned the choreography. Meriani, for her part, honestly just seemed happy to be included. Even though this whole thing was her idea in the first place. There were some disagreements about how to do the dance. But mostly, things went fine. And during breaks, the girls rolled around on the floor, did cartwheels, precariously hung off the ballet bar. A few played a high speed game of Ring around the Rosie. One of the older girls helped a few of the younger ones practice the steps. It was total chaos, the good kind. But hanging over all of this is the fact that for a lot of migrant families in New York City, there's a deadline approaching. The city recently told families that they only have shelter for 60 days. Then they'll have to reapply. Some as soon as the first week of January. A new shelter could mean a new school entirely. Whatever solidness the girls feel now might be gone by the new year.




To Cornfield is the producer on our show.




5: Harlem Shuffle. Once migrants get into the shelters that New York is providing, lots of them have no idea what they're supposed to do next or who to talk to. In theory, they all have case managers, but often they have no idea who those case managers are. The case managers are overwhelmed anyway with lots of cases. There are all kinds of nonprofits trying to fill the gaps. One of them is run by Atimaba, the woman I was with till 2:00 in the morning at the Port Authority, greeting a bus from Texas. Again, her group is called Africa. Emmanuel Jochy dropped by there to see how much of the city's slack they're able to take up and where they're struggling. Here he is.


Africa is in a nondescript building in Harlem at 145 and Lennox. Most of the windows are boarded up. There's no signage. The only reason I knew I was in the was because when I pulled up at 10:00 AM, there was a long line of people that trailed out the front door, round the building, and into a parking lot. Inside, there's a small waiting area, a long table with three people doing intake, a series of makeshift cubicles. It looks basically like a tiny, chaotic DMV. The place where if you stand around for too long, someone will pull you into a random task that they need help with. It could be translating, copying papers, or in my case, is holding someone's toddler for a second. Hi. You're going to do my job for me. Overseeing everything is Ardama Bar. She started this place seven months ago after years of helping immigrants in the out of her car. So many people needed her services, she needed an office. Now she says they get roughly 500 people a day.


Again, we don't advertise this location because of the value that we get.


So how do people know the like to come here? Word of mouth. Purely.


Word of mouth.


She founded this place to serve a new generation of migrants from places like Guinea and Mauritania who've been making their way to the United States in the last couple of years. Most people started coming in large numbers this summer, in part because of a Nicaraguan government's decision to change their visa system. So Africans could just fly to Nicaragua and from there, walk and hitchhike to the United States. You no longer had to pass through the often lethal diving gap connecting Colombia and Panama. Word spread on social media about it, and lots of people came.


If you notice when you looked around the room is mostly black migrants, right? It's the one place where they get people that look like them that are giving them direct services. Everywhere we go, we're turned away. There's no one who's going above and beyond to translate. They don't speak the language, but everyone here speaks that language.


Languages like Pallar and Walloff, but also Arabic and French. Everybody providing those services is a volunteer, including Ardama. She's not getting paid for any of this. To make money, she has a part-time job. And it seems like she's just about making all of this work, which is wild because most of the time I was at Afrikaana, I found myself thinking, what would happen if this place didn't exist? I watched person after person coming to inquire about an important piece of mail they had forwarded to Afrika, because with all of the moving they were doing shelter to shelter, this was their permanent mailing address. I met a woman who had a baby just a week earlier who was limping around the office, stitches and all, because she just wanted to be around other people from her country. And in the middle of this, I saw Ardimer digging through crates, looking for mail, calming disputes. She seemed unable to get through a quick Zoom call at her desk without someone who'd been helped days earlier, popping by to give her an update or needing more guidance. I watched her constantly, and I mean, constantly lose track of her phone because she'd given it to volunteers who'd learnt long ago that if you need something from a shelter manager or an attorney or anyone useful, it'll happen just that much faster if they think Adam a bar is calling.


Trying to keep up with her, I get looking for discrete ways to tell her that I could really use a minute to catch my breath. But there are no breaks, she says. Not when she's helping all of these people. I have a random question for you, which is a simple one. When do you eat?


I'm eating now. I have a peppermint to eat because they're not eating. I'm so embarrassed to eat in front of them. I'd rather chew gum in a peppermint.


You're waiting till you.


Get home. Fortunately, yeah. I'm surprised I'm not skinny. Follow me.


All right. All right. Artima's biggest challenge today is 27 young men aged 18 through 21 here in the US without their parents. Today, Artima wants to find them all housing. And she's trying to get them into what she says is the gold standard here. Instead of regular migrant shelters, she wants to get them placed in the city's youth shelter system. That system serves all young New Yorkers aged 16 through 21 without homes, not just migrants. And in the youth shelter system, you could potentially get a spot for up to two years, not just 30 days. You also get vocational training, mental health services, and help finding schools, which are all services these kids would rarely get in the regular migrant shelters. It's going to be hard for Arderman to place all 27 boys, though, because a lot of the youth shelters are full. Most of the boys know that they could be in for a bit of a wait, so they're spread out around the room, lounge-ing. Almost everyone is on their phones watching soccer and talking to people back home.




Guy, though, who isn't on his phone is a 19-year-old named Lamine. He's the one person who asked me straight up, Who are you exactly? Do you work with immigration? I speak French because I lived in Belgium for a few years as a kid. Never picked up the word for podcast, though, and as I struggle to remember if I can just say podcast, I can feel the mean sizing me up, wondering if I can be helpful to him in any way. He figures out quickly that I probably can't, but he's still happy to talk with me. He explains that he's from Guinea, says both of his parents are dead, and a couple of years ago, after a coup d'etat in his country, the one parental figure in his life, a military officer who had more or less adopted him, went missing.


It shocked me. I don't know if he was.


Just in prison or if he's dead. I don't know. I don't know.


All of it pushed me to leave the country because back.


Then, my life.


Wasn't guaranteed.


Luckily, Lamine says he knew someone who knew someone who could help get him out, which Ajadad always seems to be a thing for Lemimie. He just has this knack for seeking out the right people for help, and there's an earnestness about him I think that wins them over. That's how he found his first shelter in New York from a random stranger on the street. And it's how he heard about Africana. Lemimie showed me his Facebook page. There's this video of him at the airport in Texas. It's his I've made it to America video. He looks sheepish, almost embarrassed in it, but he is so incredibly happy. He looks legitimately really young. Younger somehow than the Lamine in front of me. What a difference three weeks makes. Now that he's in New York, he doesn't really talk to people back home, and he feels guilty about that.




Got rid of my African.


Number on WhatsApp.


I got an.


American number, so I could forget.


Lamine doesn't want to think about his life in Guinea, but he doesn't want to talk about New York either.


I think people will ask me how they can get here.


They'll think they can change their lives, that.


Everything will change, but it's.


The opposite. I can't tell someone in my country to come here if you're not in big danger.


If you're in danger, okay, because here in the US, there is security, but.


Here being.


Undocumented is not easy. It's not easy.


Right now, he's in a shelter, a big tent facility on Randall's Island next to Manhattan. But in just two weeks, he'll run up against the city's 30-day limit. That's actually why he's here at Africa, now. He's trying to figure out where to go next. As the day goes on, the 27 young men are getting restless. So far, Ardima has only managed to find places for just two of these guys at a shelter called Covenant House. She said it's one of the best in the city. It's not until 7:30, almost 10 hours after I arrived at Afrikaana, that one of the volunteers who's been helping out Arduma all day, hears back from a place she's been waiting on. This organization will take kids, but she tells the boys, and there's a catch.




16 people can go, she says. She reads out 16 names and the mean is not on that list. He looks upset. He's going to have to come back in the morning and try all of this all over again. I tell him I'll catch up with him later and I follow the 16 kids out the door. Those young men have one last task sitting between them and this day finally being over. They have to make a roughly 30-minute walk to where they'll be staying. All right, let's go. I start walking with them, only to realize that we have a couple of stragglers.


They are coming.


Hey, hey, hey, we leave.


And then it dawns on me. Me and these youth were both given the address, but I'm the one with Google Maps pulled up. I'm not following these youth to their next living situation. I'm taking them there. It's a little chaotic. A few of them charge ahead, moving like they know where they're going, even though they don't and acting insultively like they're not with me. I watched one of them try to jaywalk and almost go headfirst into oncoming traffic.




What are you guys?


I'm so fucked.




We get to our destination in one piece and on time. I ring the doorbell of the place and one of the teenagers. The same one I yank back from traffic earlier, taps me on the shoulder and asks me, You're going to wait with us, right? See how it is? I won't leave.






I didn't see you, man. I got you. I got.


You, bro. And then a woman opens the door and welcomes us. Hi. I'm just a journalist. You walk with that mother from the thing. She has some important information to share with everyone, but she doesn't speak French, so I translate.




Going to welcome them for five days. Monday morning, they go.




To Ari-Africana.


Five days, that's it. I feel terrible communicating this to the boys. This is not going to be their new home. Every day, they have to clear out of here from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. One of the boys mouth to me, Sefu, it's crazy. I don't know what to tell him. I agree. I thought that when I went to Africa, I'd be taking a look at a safety net under the city's safety net, a place that was catching all these people the city maybe wasn't. But that safety net has holes in it. For all the work Arderman have volunteers put in, it feels like it all comes down to luck. In the weeks that followed, I got texts and calls from a couple of the boys. They told me that they hadn't gotten placed in a long term youth facility, but instead they'd doubled down on staying in the city's regular migrant shelters. Artima told me it used to be easier to place young people. I happened to be there in late October, right when it started to become almost impossible. The youth shelter system's full. For weeks, I didn't hear anything from Lamine. But when I did get in touch with him, he told me he's staying at Covenant House.


The big youth shelter, Ardama says, is one of the best. He said he got the address of someone he met that day in Afrikaana, and he took it from there. I got in here myself, he told me.


Every day at 6:00 a. M, I got up to go to Covenant House to ask if they have a place. They told me there is no place, so I came back. The next day they said.


They still didn't have a place, but that maybe if I came back there, it.


Might be a spot.


So I kept going. I kept going.


Day after day, and then they told.


Me they had a spot.


I did it.


Not with the help of Africa, I did it alone, just me.


You're going to hear it, right? The pride in his voice. And he should be proud. He didn't get into one of Covenant House's two year programs, but they did give him a spot for 60 days. He's going to school, learning English slowly. He's still sussing out how I can be useful, I think. Lately, when we've talked, he's had a few questions for me about my own immigration story, how I came here. Arderman told me she has a lot of the means, people who figure it out on their own. That was her goal when she first opened Africa. She'd help folks and they'd be gone because she'd have connected them to the right people. But she's serving hundreds of people a day because so many of them end up returning and so many more keep arriving. The night I came home from Afrikaana after 10 hours with her, I'd been in bed about an hour when I got a call from Arderman. There were busses on the way that she was meeting that night, starting the whole thing all over again.


Emmanuel Jochy, produced today's episode of our show. I'm here today.


I'm here today.




Want to be a part of it. Do you all? Do you all?


People who've been together today's show include Bill Maudawumni, Chris Bendereff, James Bennett II, Fia Benin, Jandae, Bon, Sean Cole, Michael Comethe, Andrea, Lopez-Crusado, Hannah Joffey-Walt, Tobin'-Low, Mickey Meek, Stone Nelson, Gilbert Mey Mondo, Nadia Raymond, Ryan Runnerie, Ike Shries, Kandarajah, Lilly Sullivan, Francis Swanson, Christopher Swartala, Marisa Robertson-Texter, Matt Tierney, and Julie Whitaker, our managing editors, Sara Abdulam, our senior editors, David Kirstenbaum, our executive editors, Emmanuel Barry. We had editing help today from Gwyn Hogan, the first heard about Atma Ba and Africa from a chalk beat article by Eliana Puroso. We had many interpreters today. Wall of interpretation by Eram and Gumb, Poular and French by Abu Ja, Charlotte Morley, also did French, Arabic, Hanny Hawasley, who also helped us with fact-checking, Spanish interpretation by David Mora, who also helped with field producing, Andrew Bilal, Joanne Deluna, and my interpreter in Times Square, Ramon Mendo, voiceovers in English in Act Five from Kareem Deyane. Best of thanks today to Jamie Pulavich, Michelle Navarow, Jasmine Garst, Jordan Salama, Bihar, Ostodon, Cody Ray-Canoo, Camille Macler, Rachel Lucey, Kirsten Brendan, Kate Smart, Gabriella Munoz de Zuberio, Natalia Vajeho-Joha, Eric Chen, and Dana Ballot. Our website, thisamericanlife. Org, we can stream our archive of over 800 episodes for absolutely free.


This American Life is delivered to public radio stations by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. Thanks, as always, to our program's co-founder, Mr. Joey Maratea, who is horrified to learn that The New Yorker is coming out with a thousand-page holiday edition of the magazine. Imagine the collective weight on the front stoop.


This issue will destroy New York City.


I'm Aaron Glass. Back next week with more stories of this American life.


If I can make it now, I'll make it anywhere, to yourhome. It's up to you. You know. Yeah.


Next week on the podcast of this American Life. One way to understand this year in politics is to look at the Republican Party in Michigan. In last year's elections, they suffered historic losses. And then they elected somebody as their state party chair who wanted to push the exact same ideas the voters rejected. How it's worked for them has been a crazy, tumultuous, fascinating, epic story that one of our producers has been deep inside of recording for months.


Come on, Ken.


Look at all.


The files, baby.


Come on, baby. Come on. That's next week on the podcast on the local public radio station.


Yeah, I got a felony for drunk driving.


It was years ago. See this right here? That's a negative in the account.


There's the.


$15,000 that came in.