In an effort to house the thousands of asylum-seeking migrants entering New York City, the Adams administration will house migrants at the abandoned Richard H. Hungerford School on Tompkins Avenue in Staten Island. On Saturday, May 13th, it was reported that the former public school would house 300 migrants inside its walls, much to the chagrin of Staten Island residents.
Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella complained about the new shelter, claiming there was “no end in sight” for the migrant crisis as asylum seekers continue crossing the United States via the U.S.-Mexico border. Borough President Fossella said, “This is the end result of failed policies at the border that are falling on the backs of Staten Island and [other] New York City taxpayers.”
He continued, “I feel for those who have to make these decisions, but State Islanders didn’t create this problem, so why should they play such a big role in having to solve it?”
Several politicians have criticized Mayor Eric Adams and his administration’s handling of the worst humanitarian crisis in city history. Congresswoman Nichole Malliotakis, a Staten Island native, said the migrants were taking advantage of New York City’s “right-to-shelter” law. She said, “This is unsustainable, and it’s ridiculous and a slap in the face to taxpayers.”
Assemblyman Sam Pirozzolo said Mayor Adams’ administration only notified him that the Tompkins Avenue school would become a new site for housing migrants on Friday. On Twitter, Assemblyman Pirozzolo shared images he took of the school, which he was able to enter “unchecked.” He said, “This entire migrant crisis is self-inflicted. Joe Biden’s dereliction of duty in abandoning our Southern Border is actively encouraging hundreds of thousands of unvetted migrants to move into our backyards.”
He continued, “This is worsened by Mayor Adams picking up exactly where the failed Bill de Blasio administration left off, by constantly selling New York City as a sanctuary city. The warehousing of human beings for profit needs to be stopped and our borders need to be closed.”
In an exclusive interview with Assemblyman Pirozzolo, he said, “If you were to ask me what is an acceptable number of migrants from the Southern Border that should be accepted in NYC and Staten Island, the number would be zero. I find it amazingly unfortunate that once again, instead of helping citizens like Jordan Neely, we continue to put the needs of non-citizens before our own.”
He continued, “Our society has blood on its hands. Instead of treating Mr. Neely, who was arrested 42 times, we turned our backs on him and allowed him to languish in the bowels of NYC only for him to lose his life. Who do we blame, we blame the marine instead of blaming ourselves for allowing his situation to continue.”
“Yes, the number of migrants should be zero until NYC has adequately resolved our own homeless issues, our own veteran issues, and our own senior issues,” Pirozzolo concluded.
On Friday, Governor Kathy Hochul reportedly wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, asking for the Floyd Bennett Field, a former military airfield near the Rockaways, to be converted into temporary housing for asylum seeking-migrants. Joann Ariola, a City Councilmember who represents the Rockaways, said, “Placing a migrant shelter in such an isolated location not only hampers the ability of migrants to access essential services and opportunities, but it also creates challenges for the local community in terms of transportation logistics.”