Some migrants arriving at Floyd Bennet Field refuse to stay at shelter
The first bus carrying about a dozen migrant families, including many children, arrived at the temporary shelter at Floyd Bennett Field on Sunday afternoon, but in a dramatic turn of events, most of them refused to go inside.
"I have four kids, how are they going to send us to a shelter like this? It's impossible... My kids go to school in Manhattan, how am I supposed to bring my four kids to Manhattan?" a migrant father of four told News 12 in Spanish.
Several of them told News 12 they work in the Bronx and had been staying at the Rosevelt Hotel on East 45th Street in Manhattan. They say they were offered to be moved to a shelter, but now feel they've been tricked.
"They didn't tell us where we were going. They just said 'get into this bus,'" the father said.
Not long after arriving at the former airfield, the group walked out of the bus they came in on and went straight into another city bus that was waiting outside the gates. They said they wanted to go back to the city or to the closest subway station.
A number of elected officials and community groups have strongly opposed the plan to house hundreds of asylum seekers at Floyd Bennett Field. Their main concerns have been the high risk of flooding, and the lack of access to essential services.
"You don't put someone in such a place where there's no supermarkets close by, the schools are almost three miles away, there's nothing here," said Assembly Member Jaime Williams, who witnesses the scene on Sunday.
The move came as the city is running out of space to house the more than 65,000 migrants in its care.
In a statement, the city said in part, "We have used every possible corner of New York City and are quite simply out of good options to shelter migrants. This is why we continue to call for meaningful help and a decompression strategy from our state and federal partners."
Sources in the Mayor Eric Adams office told News 12 that the migrants who refused to stay at the airfield had to sign a release form, and were told that this shelter would still be available if they changed their minds, as it's the only available place for them at this time.