NEW YORK – As construction continues on a, the opposition is growing louder.
Monday, some Bronx residents announced they’re filing a lawsuit to stop the city from opening the temporary shelter. CBS2’s Andrea Grymes has more on their concerns and Mayor Eric Adams’ reaction.
On a cold and windy day in the Orchard Beach parking lot, work continued on the migrant relief center set to open soon. Just feet away, dozens of Bronx residents gathered to say “not in our back yard.”
“I feel bad for these people. They have to come over the right way,” one person said.
The center – for adults – is part of Mayor Adams‘ plan to deal with a flood of migrants arriving in New York City, bused in from Southern states after illegally crossing the border.
Adams says it’s a humanitarian crisis.
“Far right is doing what’s wrong. Far left is doing nothing at all. It’s time for us to address this in a unified way, and that’s what we’re doing, this administration is doing,” Adams said.
But some residents, including many Bronx Republicans, are planning to sue. They have several concerns about the center, including safety, and if the migrants are being vetted.
“These people that are being sent here, they’re not all criminals. But in any group this size, there’s going to be a criminal element,” said Patrick McManus of the Bronx County Conservative Party.
“We don’t do any screening other than of finding out the needs of people and make sure that we properly give them the resources they need. And we’re going to provide the public safety. That’s my responsibility,” Adams said.
The group says the parking lot – a flood-prone location – is also not safe for the migrants.
“I’m a Democrat and I’m standing here shoulder to shoulder because it’s wrong, humanitarian – how dare they put immigrants in a flood zone,” said Co-op City resident Al Quattlebaum.
Monday night, the mayor issued the following statement, notably saying the facility will be moved to Randall’s Island:
New York City has, on its own, safely and efficiently provided shelter, health care, education, and a host of other services to more than 16,000 asylum seekers pursuing a better life over the last few months. As we now work to open the city’s first Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center, safety for those seeking asylum remains our top priority. Following this weekend’s storms, New York City Emergency Management determined that, while we would be able to put in place the necessary ponding mitigation measures, relocating the Orchard Beach humanitarian relief center to Randall’s Island is the most efficient and effective path forward, and work is underway to make this move. This new location is less prone to flooding, is closer to public transportation, and will provide temporary respite to 500 asylum seekers. We expect this site to open in approximately the same timeframe as the originally planned location, and we continue to build out our options and explore additional sites as we handle this humanitarian crisis created by human hands.