BROOKLYN (PIX11) — One of the several migrant families who arrived Sunday at the Floyd Bennett Field tent facility in Brooklyn was unwilling to stay.
“I am very grateful for everything that they’ve given us, but we can’t stay here. I have four kids with asthma. It’s too far. They didn’t tell us anything. It’s a new facility, but we never thought it was here,” said one mother.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams confirmed late last month families would indeed be transferred to Floyd Bennett Field to live temporarily in a congregant setting.
MTA buses with the first two dozen or so migrant families began arriving at the gate just after noon on Sunday.
“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,” a mayoral spokesperson told PIX11 News. “No municipality should be left to manage a national crisis almost entirely on its own. It’s not fair to asylum seekers, and it’s not fair to longtime New Yorkers.”
Critics, from residents to elected officials and the Legal Aid Society, disagreed with this housing plan then and continue to do so now.
“Will these people be taking away opportunities that the American people should have first?” asked longtime Brooklyn resident Dave Dietz.
New York State Assemblymember Jaime Williams also showed up at the site Sunday.
“I commend those migrants for leaving this place. Because it’s such an unfit place for them to be staying,” said Williams.
NYC Legal Aid Society Staff Attorney Josh Goldfein said officials need to work harder to find better housing solutions for migrant families.
“It’s just not true to say that there are not good options. The city has only recently begun to roll out different programs that will allow people to move out of these places. And that will create space. It doesn’t make any sense to put families with children there,” Goldfein said.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams arrived Sunday evening after hearing about the families who declined to stay. But facility staff turned him away at the front gate.
“I definitely know they need allies on this. So if people are trying to help you out, then you shouldn’t deny them access. If everything is going well, then let me talk to a couple of families, and then I’ll be on my way,” said Williams.
Williams was eventually let into the facility to speak with the families. He says they told him they were unaware this was where they were being bused. Regarding the families who chose to leave here – they were dropped off at a nearby train station.
Now that they’ve given up their beds, it’s unclear where they’ll sleep when nighttime temperatures dip.