{AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio}

Fallacy: Immigrants in the U.S. illegally on Tuesday stormed New York City Hall, demanding housing in luxury hotels rather than city shelters

Truth: Social media posts misrepresented the actions of the participants and the reason they had gathered at City Hall

Hundreds of Black immigrants assembled peacefully in City Hall Park during a hearing about racial inequities in New York’s shelter and immigrant support systems. They gathered there after it became clear that only around 100 people would be allowed into the hearing.

Many shared videos from the gathering that showed large groups of people calmly standing, milling about or waiting in line. Other footage showed people cheering outside City Hall.

“Illegals have just swarmed NYC City Hall and have surrounded it,” reads one X post that had received approximately 32,000 likes and 20,600 shares as of Thursday. “They’re trying to occupy the building and are demanding luxury hotel rooms provided to illegals instead of the shelters that NYC has provided. This is only going to get worse.”

A caption on a TikTok video of people in line reads: “TODAY IN BIDEN’S AMERICA… illegals in NYC stormed City Hall because they are being moved into shelters and out of their luxury hotels.” It was viewed approximately 67,300 times.

But the gathering of more than 1,500 immigrants, mostly from Guinea, was peaceful and there was no indication they had arrived en masse at City Hall to demand luxury hotel accommodations.

They were at City Hall for a hearing held by the City Council’s Committee on Immigration to examine racial inequities in the city’s shelter and immigrant support systems. Relatively minor proposals were on the day’s agenda. For example, a set of bills that would require administrators to collect better data on migrants receiving city services, as well as a resolution for the federal government to eliminate or reimburse immigration application fees. Immigrants also testified about their own experiences.

An AP reporter present at the gathering observed that it was calm and orderly. When asked, immigrants were largely concerned about obtaining authorisation to work in the U.S. Some also complained about lack of access to halal food in shelters. Others were worried about being evicted from shelters or had come to support City Council members.