MARINE PARK, Brooklyn (PIX11) — A large crowd gathered in Marine Park Thursday for another rally against a new migrant center coming to Floyd Bennett Field.
The decision to house migrants at the former airfield sparked a wave of opposition amongst people who live in the area — citing concerns over the community’s safety and the fact that the space is located in a desolate area.
“We don’t have the infrastructure in place, much less to bring 2,500 migrants to Floyd Bennett Field,” said Assemblymember Jaime Williams of the 59th District.
Donna Connelly lives nearby and has concerns that the move will strain local resources.
“Who’s paying for all this?” questioned Connelly. “It’s the taxpayer. Everybody in Rockaway is paying for it. Everyone in New York City is paying for it. We don’t know if these people are vaccinated. We don’t know where these people come from. They’re not vetted.”
Guardian Angels Founder Curtis Sliwa was amongst the protesters who are hoping the city will find alternative locations to house migrants.
“If you believe you have to take them — Rikers Island,” Sliwa said. “They have cafeterias, they have shower stalls, you just take the bars off the cells, and then you have lots of space to roam on.”
The rally comes just hours after Gov. Kathy Hochul sent a letter to the Biden administration outlining a list of demands to help mitigate the migrant crisis. She’s calling on President Biden to send more federal dollars to the city, authorize the use of federal land to build more temporary shelters, and provide expedited work authorizations for asylum seekers.
“This crisis originated with the federal government and it must be resolved through the federal government,” Hochul said. “The borders and decisions on who can work are solely determined by the federal government.”
The new shelter is expected to house around 2,000 asylum seekers and comes at a time when the city continues to look for places to house people — amidst the influx of over 100,000 migrants arriving in New York City since last year.