Many residents of New York City have voiced their opposition to the city’s proposal of converting a previous educational institution into a facility for migrants. This comes amidst a surge in asylum seekers that the city is trying to accommodate.
A large gathering of concerned citizens, many of whom were parents, congregated outside the St. John Villa Academy on Staten Island. Their reservations stem from the location’s proximity to other schools, raising safety apprehensions.
Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, a Democratic State Senator from New York, shared her concerns during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” She expressed disappointment that the community might lose what could have been an educational establishment. The Senator stressed that the location, being in a tranquil residential zone, isn’t suitable for a migrant facility. She commented, “The city needs to reconsider their decision. Based on what’s evident on the ground, this location isn’t right.”
Scarcella-Spanton also noted the consistent presence of protesters around the vicinity until the wee hours of a recent Friday morning. Their sentiment was captured by a prominent sign that displayed strong opposition.
The city had acquired the academy in 2018 after its shutdown. Although initial plans hinted at reviving it as a school, the current decision might see 300 migrants being relocated there soon, as reported by WABC. Additionally, there were reports of a few arrests in relation to the demonstrations.
In response to the growing unrest, Mayor Eric Adams’ office issued a statement. It highlighted the choice of St. John Villa Academy as a temporary relief site for single women and families. While recognizing community reservations, the office assured the efficient management of the facility.
However, Scarcella-Spanton reiterated that the location was ill-suited for its intended purpose, urging the administration to re-evaluate their decision. She emphasized the unsuitability of the site amidst a housing community and predicted continued protests if the plan proceeds.
Furthermore, in a recent CBS interview, Mayor Adams had prompted the federal government to recognize the current migrant influx as a “state of emergency.” CBS highlighted that since the past spring, over 100,000 asylum seekers have been accommodated by the mayor’s office. The report also mentioned a new facility in Randall’s Island, designed to provide essential services to up to 3,000 individuals.