They wanted to live in America, but not at an emergency shelter created by New York City at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field.
A tent city was erected at the former airfield where New York plans to house about 2,000 illegal immigrants who have come to the City.
But when a bus arrived Sunday afternoon, several of the illegal immigrants said it was not good enough, according to the New York Post.
“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,” one migrant told the Post.
Democratic state Assembly member Jaime Williams, whose district includes Bennett Field and who was at the site Sunday, said families were rightly outraged at where they were taken, according to the New York Daily News.
“Families got off of the bus and saw the accommodations,” she said. “When they realized they wouldn’t be staying at a hotel, they refused to stay and demanded to be taken somewhere else. They were not told in advance that they would be going [to] a tent city.”
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“No woman or children should be having to be bused around like this,” Williams told the illegal immigrants. “Let them know that this is not the place for you guys to be — in an isolated area.”
She declared the site was “a disaster waiting to happen,” according to the Post.
“It’s not the ideal location for anyone to live. There’s no supermarket. There’s no infrastructure,” Williams said.
“Having your child in the southern end of Brooklyn here, when there is nothing, transit desert, is just not compatible,” she said, according to WABC-TV.
“It’s isolated, it’s very reminiscent of sort of a prison,” Legal Aid Society Staff Attorney Stephanie Randolph said
“[I]f the city is offering no alternative to them, it’s leave New York City or go to Floyd Bennett Field,” she said.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said the illegal immigrants need to be housed elsewhere in the state.
“We really need the governor to realize the right to shelter is statewide and open up some spaces across the state. And we need the White House to help with a decompression strategy. When those things are not happening, you’re asking New York City to provide a national response, and we just don’t have the ability to do that,” Williams said.
Kayla Mamelak, a representative of Mayor Eric Adams, said options are dwindling as the tide of illegal immigrants is rising, according to the Daily News.
“With more than 65,600 migrants still 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,” she said.