New York City’s illegal immigration crisis could begin to remind residents and officials alike of that old adage, beggars can’t be choosers. With thousands of migrants entering The Big Apple, officials are at their wit’s end trying to find housing for everyone. Hotels, schools, and even police stations have been used to shelter the undocumented. One would think people entering the US illegally, getting free medical, food, shelter, clothing, education for their children, and even transportation, would be grateful for the help. Over the weekend, however, dozens of migrant families refused the new shelter they’d been transported to and demanded to be returned to better facilities.
Migrants Refuse to Stay at New Shelter
The first batch of migrants were bussed to Floyd Bennett Field where a tent city of sorts had been set up as a temporary housing facility for asylum seekers and immigrants. But, after a quick look around, most of them refused to stay and got on another bus to take them to their previous shelters. The biggest complaint was the isolation of the location, and to be fair, it was the site of the city’s first municipal airport, later turned into a naval base and then a park.
It also isn’t the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, where at least one family stayed before being relocated. The father told the New York Post, “They are going to take us back to the train so we can go back to 45th Street. We didn’t know we were coming here. They just said they were taking us to a shelter. I cannot stay here,” he added. “This is crazy.”
Another dad told the outlet, “We weren’t told where we were going. I work in The Bronx. My kids go to school in The Bronx. For us to live out here is ridiculous. We’re going back.”
While the situation might not be ideal, surely it is better than trekking miles upon miles through unknown territory to cross the border. Plus, the city stated there will be shuttles that will run every 90 minutes from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to take people to work and children to school.
The shelter has four dormitory tents that accommodate up to 2,000 families. The migrants will live in housing pods for up to six family members. There are 128 pods per 500 people. As with most migrant shelters, there is a tent where immigrants can get ID badges, register for school enrollment, get vaccines, and connect with caseworkers.
There are some notable differences, though. There is a tent used as a cafeteria and bathrooms and showers are set up outside with just one bathroom for every 15 people. An ambulance is also on site for any medical emergencies.
Some officials have argued that the site is dangerous, even for short-term housing because of its remote location as well as fire hazards. Fire hydrants, for instance, are a half-mile away and the fire department satellite units that will be responsible for responding to any incidents also have to cover the entire borough of Brooklyn.
Fire inspectors also mentioned concerns that the migrants are allowed e-bikes so they can work at food-delivery jobs. These electric bicycles use lithium batteries and have been the cause of several deadly fires in the city, the Post explained. However, the city said there is separate outside storage for these vehicles.
NYC has been bombarded with illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. Millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money has already been spent to support them. The city is overburdened with trying to find accommodations for all the newcomers. Mayor Eric Adams released a statement recently after the complaints and backlash:
“As we have said time and time again, more than 139,500 have come through our intake system since the spring 2022, all of whom have been offered vital services like shelter, food, medical care, casework support, legal assistance, social services, and more. But, with more than 65,600 migrants currently in our care, and thousands more continuing to arrive every week, we have used every possible corner of New York City and are quite simply out of good options to shelter migrants.”
Adams even traveled to the border and warned migrants not to make the Big Apple their destination because they did not have any more room. Yet still they come, by the thousands, demanding housing and other essentials.