On Sunday, the initial group of migrants was transported by bus to the makeshift tent city located in Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field. However, they expressed their unwillingness to stay there.
After 12:30 p.m., numerous migrant families arrived at the secluded housing site arranged by the Adams administration. Upon arrival, they surveyed the area before immediately boarding the bus in an attempt to go back to their previous shelters.
A migrant father who was bused to an unknown location expressed his frustration to The Post stating, “We weren’t informed about where we were being taken. It is absurd for me and my family to live in this new place as I work in The Bronx and my kids attend school there.”
“He’s absolutely livid – we’re heading back,” he said in a frustrated tone.
A migrant father, who was transported to the field, mentioned that he has been residing at the Roosevelt Hotel located in Midtown Manhattan. He further stated that he was on his way back to the hotel, which serves as a processing site for the migrants in the city.
“He said that they will be taking us back to the train station to return to 45th Street. We had no prior knowledge of coming here, as they only mentioned taking us to a shelter,” he explained.
“This is insane, I can’t stay here,” he exclaimed.
It is expected that the site will eventually house around 2,000 asylum seekers from the US border with Mexico. However, the location of the site has drawn widespread criticism, with concerns including its remote location and fire safety issues.
During her visit to the field on Sunday, State Assemblywoman Jaime Williams (D-Brooklyn) had the opportunity to speak with a man who claimed to be associated with the city’s Health and Hospitals system. He had reportedly communicated with some of the migrants present at the national park.
According to the police officer, when asked about the sudden departure, he was told that the people were afraid and unsure of their presence in the area. They expressed their desire to leave promptly and were allowed to do so.
As per the statement, people expressed their concerns about the isolation of the place and how it would become difficult for them to commute to work. They also mentioned that it would be a challenge to take their children to school from that location. Consequently, they requested to leave the area.
“The situation at the growing tent city is a disaster waiting to happen,” she expressed concern.
Williams remarked that it was one of the chilliest days they had experienced yet, with a forecast of frost that night. They acknowledged that the location was far from ideal for anyone to reside in, lacking basic amenities such as a supermarket and infrastructure.
She stated that she plans to contact the Legal Aid Society, as well as the mayor and governor, to request the cancellation of the lease for this location.
On Sunday, a representative for Adams confirmed that although a few migrants declined the location and signed release forms, another group, which arrived just before 2:30 p.m., chose to stay.
According to a statement by a spokesperson, it has been reiterated that over 139,500 asylum seekers have been processed through the intake system since the spring of 2022. The spokesperson also affirmed that all of these individuals have been provided with essential services.
According to him, despite their best efforts, they are currently holding over 65,600 migrants in their care, and with thousands more arriving every week, they have exhausted all possible options to provide shelter to these migrants within New York City.
According to a source from the administration, the migrants received a warning that there was no other available space for them in the city. The individuals who chose to leave are permitted to return to Floyd Bennett if they desire to do so, as per the same source.
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According to a bus driver, the migrant workers at the site left many in shock when a significant number of them declined to remain after being transported there.
According to The Post, the driver expressed his surprise at the sudden departure of the group. “They turned around and left – it was really shocking,” he said. “Despite that, only a handful of people decided to stay. We definitely didn’t expect that to happen.”
According to fire officials in New York City, the former federal airfield, also known as the Big Apple, is not a safe place for human habitation due to several reasons. One of the major concerns is its remote location, which could hinder the arrival of emergency services during a fire outbreak. Additionally, the fire hydrants are located half a mile away from the site, and most of them are not dependable, further increasing the risk of fire-related incidents.
According to fire inspectors, there are concerns about allowing asylum-seekers to have e-bikes at the site. Many migrants use e-bikes for underground food-delivery jobs, but they are powered by lithium batteries, which have caused several deadly fires in the city.
There are additional concerns regarding the two FDNY satellite units assigned to respond to a fire at the field, as they are also responsible for covering the entire borough of Brooklyn. This raises questions about their ability to effectively respond to emergencies in both locations.
In September, nearly two dozen lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including US Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark), who chairs the House National Resources Committee, expressed doubts about the plan at the federal facility.
According to Westerman, the national park that was once an airfield is not suitable for accommodating individuals who are experiencing homelessness, regardless of one’s personal or political beliefs on immigration or migrant policy.
During a recent speech at a crowded Brooklyn church, even former Gov. Andrew Cuomo voiced his opinion that using the field as a migrant shelter “defies common sense.”
Adams has given his assurance that safety measures are in place at the site to ensure the well-being of everyone. This includes the provision of an outdoor area where the e-bikes can be stored, as well as a shuttle service that can take people to the five boroughs.
The logistics of providing bus transportation for migrant children staying at the site to attend public schools located far away are also being addressed by city officials.
With the influx of over 140,000 migrants, a staggering 65,000 of whom are still being cared for by the city, Adams is facing a daunting challenge with limited options to address the situation. These individuals have arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022, leaving Adams with the difficult task of finding a solution to the growing crisis.
The decision of City Hall to transform closed schools, hotels, and other buildings into temporary shelters for migrants has stirred up a negative response. Despite this move, the City Hall has reached out to the White House for assistance.
After months of negotiations with the White House, Gov. Kathy Hochul has finally received approval from the Biden administration to utilize Floyd Bennett Field for migrants. However, she believes that more needs to be done by the federal government to address this issue.
Early on a Sunday morning, workers prepped six tents set up on a runway at the former Brooklyn airfield for the anticipated arrival of migrants. A city bus was waiting nearby, along with several mini-buses used to transport workers to the site.
City Hall officials were referred to for queries by The Post on Sunday, as stated by the FDNY.
Valentina Jaramillo also contributed to this report.