Around 2,000 migrants currently residing in a tent shelter in New York City are being relocated to a nearby high school, prompting a shift to remote learning for students. The move has stirred controversy among residents and local officials.
The decision to move the migrants from the tent shelter at Floyd Bennett Field to ensure their safety during impending storms was made by New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office. Mayor Adams explained to reporters that the decision was taken as a precautionary measure.
Adams said, “We want to make sure people are safe.”
Controversially, they are being relocated to James Madison High School, which has confirmed its use as a “temporary overnight respite center.” The school will be closed on Wednesday, necessitating a switch to remote learning for students.
Republican Councilwoman Inna Vernikov said the move was “unacceptable.” She asserted that Floyd Bennett Field is “not a sustainable housing facility.”
She went on to add, “Our public schools are meant to be places of learning and growth for our children and were never intended to be shelters or facilities for emergency housing.”
⚠️ We warned you! As predicted, Floyd Bennett Field is not a sustainable shelter facility! James Madison High School is becoming a migrant shelter over night. 1900 migrants are being transferred to this public school to spend the night there to evade the storm. @NYCMayor this is… pic.twitter.com/SxUfflcpeF
— Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (@InnaVernikov) January 9, 2024
NYC Comptroller Brad Lander, a Democrat, criticized the decision to place migrants at Floyd Bennett Field, stating that it underscores the mismanagement and fiscal inefficiency in City Hall’s approach to providing shelter and services for asylum seekers.
According to The New York Post, the move has provoked anger among parents of students at the school. One woman was reported to have shouted at arriving buses, “How does it feel that you kicked all the kids out of school tomorrow!”
Adams’ office informed the outlet that the relocation is a preemptive step taken to safeguard the well-being of those residing and working at the migrant facility. It will persist until any adverse weather conditions have subsided and the facility is deemed safe for habitation once more.
Adams’ office also reported that over 160,000 migrants have entered the sanctuary city since mid-2022, some of whom arrived directly from Texas by bus. Officials have indicated that the city is grappling with overwhelming numbers, with Adams cautioning that the crisis has the potential to “destroy” the city.
He, in conjunction with fellow Democratic city mayors, has urged the federal government to take more substantial actions, including increased funding, expedited work permit processing and assistance with resettlement. Simultaneously, his city reduced budgets in the last year for areas such as education, law enforcement and other sectors.
Additionally, Adams implemented regulations specifying when and where migrant buses can discharge their passengers and has encouraged mayors in neighboring areas to adopt similar measures. Furthermore, his administration initiated a lawsuit aimed at seeking $700 million in damages from the transportation companies responsible for transporting the migrants.