Hundreds of concerned New Yorkers convened in Queens to voice their strong opposition to a newly erected “tent city” for illegal migrants. The temporary shelter, constructed at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center’s parking lot, is slated to house approximately 1,000 illegal immigrant men. The proximity to an elementary school and a senior center has particularly incensed residents, further underscoring their concerns.
The crowd’s chorus was unmistakable as they chanted “no tent city,” emphasizing their disapproval of the state’s decision to offer temporary accommodation for illegal immigrants at this location. The swift establishment of this facility took merely ten days, a response to the overwhelming numbers of people who entered the country illegally and subsequently found their way to New York City.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 17, 2023
The drama intensified when several individuals, including Curtis Sliwa, a former GOP mayoral candidate, were arrested. Their defiance of police orders by blocking traffic echoed the intensity of sentiment among the protesters. Various signs held aloft by the crowd bore phrases such as “This is a national emergency! Close the border!” and “Our children deserve a safe school.”
A notable concern from the locals revolves around the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center’s closeness to multiple educational institutions, which include elementary and special education schools. While several protesters did convey empathy toward the illegal immigrants, the predominant contention lay with the chosen site for the shelter.
The scale of New York City’s challenge with illegal immigrants is palpable. Recently, officials mulled over using tents in Central Park, a significant tourist attraction, as temporary housing. With the number of illegal immigrants arriving reaching at least 90,000 since last April, the city’s existing infrastructure, especially homeless shelters, is stretched thin.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) are in a dispute, each pointing fingers at the other for the growing crisis. The mayor emphasizes the scant assistance the city has received to address the surge of immigrants. At the same time, the governor’s administration retorts with accusations of the city’s failure to cooperate effectively with the state.
Yet, as leaders engage in a political tug-of-war, residents stand united in their call for action. The message from Queens is clear: while compassion is necessary, so is the responsibility to ensure that public spaces, particularly those near schools, remain places of safety and community.