More NYC School Gyms to House Migrants, Judge Halts Transportations to Ocean County

By Matis Glenn

NYC Mayor Eric Adams speaking at the indictment of city gang members May 16, 2023. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

NEW YORK — Faced with an already overwhelmed shelter system, New York City is strongly considering using 20 additional standalone public-school gyms as makeshift housing for a wave of migrants expected to soon enter the city, according to ABC7.

On Sunday, around 75 adult asylum-seekers arrived at P.S. 188 in Coney Island.

But Mayor Eric Adams says that that was likely only the beginning, as his administration weighs its limited options following the lifting of pandemic-era migration restriction Title 42 last week, which bolstered migrants’ aspirations to cross the border.

Meanwhile, Spectrum News reports that a New York judge has ruled that at least temporarily, New York City cannot send migrants to Orange County; though the 180 that have already been sent since last Thursday will be permitted to remain.

County Executive Steve Neuhaus blasted the city’s decision.

“New York City, knowing that the case was under review, tried to flood as many buses up here as possible,” Neuhaus told Spectrum Tuesday.

Brooklyn’s Roosevelt Hotel has opened 175 rooms for migrant families and plans to open 675 more this week, but Adams expects far more will come.

The 75 migrants in P.S. 188 are staying in the gym that is not connected to the school and they don’t have access to the school. Adams stressed that the same would apply to the 20 gyms under consideration.

“Each gym, the 20 gyms that we are looking at, we have not made a final determination on all the gyms, but that we are looking at are separate from the actual school buildings,” the mayor said.

Adams acknowledged the desperation that led his administration to this point.

“This is one of the last places we want to look at. None of us are comfortable with having to take these drastic steps,” Adams said.

In Brooklyn, six schools with standalone gyms, located in Coney Island, Williamsburg, Sunset Park and Crown Heights, are under consideration.

After being told by the district superintendent that the gym belonging to P.S. 172 in Sunset Park would be used as a shelter, parents gathered at the school early Tuesday morning to voice their concerns.

The school’s gym is adjacent to the school yard, where preschool-aged children congregate to play.

Despite being told by school staff, in a letter shared to ABC7, that the migrants’ presence “should not impact school operations, nor will the families have access to any other part of the school where students and staff are,” many school parents are upset.

“Put them in the people who are elected … put them in their backyards because you’ve dumped on us long enough,” one parent told ABC7.

“Obviously these folks need some place to go, but the idea that our kids could lose out on their gymnasium is kind of appalling,” a different parent said.

It is unclear how long the migrants will stay in P.S. 188 or any of the other 20 locations being considered.

The New York City School Safety Coalition warned of safety hazards, urging Adams to find an alternative.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, who requested of the Biden administration to use federal space, such as Floyd Bennet Field, for the migrants, says that she has yet to receive an answer.  

Hochul has also asked for a federal waiver of the 150-day period that asylum seekers need to wait before gaining work permits. “It would be a game changer,” Hochul said of the waiver. “These individuals may need a month or so in assisted housing, but all of a sudden they get that job, they get legitimacy, and they can find a path out of the shadows.”

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!