QUEENS VILLAGE, Queens (PIX11) — Hundreds of eastern Queens residents marched along Hillside Avenue to the Creedmoor psychiatric facility Tuesday night chanting, “No tent city!”
A raucous and vocal crowd of community members seemingly staged the largest migrant protest in the city to date.
They’re fighting a future Humanitarian Emergency Relief Center, or HERC built next to a school and ballfield.
“We have one thousand to three thousand unvetted individuals coming from God knows where,” said rally organizer Joseph Concannon.
The asylum seekers are coming from the southern border and have been for the past year.
Nearly 100,000 and counting have already passed through or are living at roughly 200 city-run sites.
And every day, it is looking for more space for this humanitarian crisis.
“This is a daily struggle. We need more help from state and federal government,” said emergency management Commissioner Zach Iscol.
Those protesting in Queens are worried about the constant influx of new undocumented adult arrivals.
“People are so freaking annoyed because the city hasn’t handled mentally ill or homeless,” continued Concannon.
A small group of counter-protesters pointed out Queens has always been known for embracing diversity, not demonizing it.
“It’s xenophobic, and this is a community that really welcomes new people here – new immigrants are coming to Queens every day,” said Jaslin Kaur of Glenn Oaks.
The city said there is no validity to claims crime has increased in community housing migrants.
“We and the state are working to ensure that the site is well-managed and that any potential disruptions are minimized,” a city hall spokesperson said of the protest.