TRAVIS, Staten Island (WABC) — Some people on Staten Island are upset that asylum seekers are being bussed in overnight from Texas and housed in their neighborhood.

They say Travis is already overwhelmed with underserved homeless people, but the mayor says every neighborhood has a role to play in dealing with the crisis.

Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday that each borough is responsible for housing asylum seekers, including Staten Island.

Elected officials say a Comfort Inn in the Travis section of Staten Island has been hosting busloads of migrants for several days.

About 1,800 of them arrived in the city over the weekend, bringing the total number of asylum seekers in the city to 18,600.

“This is a federal problem that needs a federal solution,” Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella said.

Republican leaders are placing the blame on President Biden.

Adams last week declared a state of emergencysaying it would cost the city a billion dollars and asked for federal intervention.

“It’s a hotel on the side of the highway, really on the back side of Staten Island,” said City Council Minority Leader Joe Borrelli. “This is not a place where there are nonprofits, there are community organizations, there are no resources here for these people.”

“A FEMA-like situation requires a FEMA-like response, I don’t think anybody could have imagined that 15, 20, 25,000 people would show up saying we have to accommodate everybody,” Fossella said . “So I’m curious to know what the city’s official position is.”

“Everybody’s going to see asylum seekers, all the calls I get from elected officials, all the calls I hear from people saying please don’t be here, it can’t be,” Adams said. “This is a citywide crisis, and we’re all going to suffer. Staten Island is going to be affected, as are the other four boroughs.”

But in the most conservative part of town, they say differences over politics don’t mean they don’t see the humanitarian crisis.

Elected officials say migrants are aimlessly wandering the neighborhood, knocking on doors and asking for help.

“I’m proud that Staten Islanders and our religious institutions are stepping up to help these people, it’s the right thing to do,” Borrelli said. “I’m glad we’re not giving them the Martha’s Vineyard treatment and just sending them to the next place.”

“The good people of Staten Island, who are very charitable, generous, compassionate, they’re treating this almost like a triage situation,” Fossella said.

And in the Stapleton area, at the Central Family Life Center, they see it that way, too.

Just a few hours into the first day of the donation drive, in coordination with the city, bags filled with clothes and toiletries are piling up.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response from all over Staten Island and beyond, people wanting to help, people wanting to help people,” said Rev. Dimitri Karolina of the Central Center for Family Life.

The district president also says that residents were not warned before this happened.

The mayor says it’s an emergency and that Texas is not coordinating, not notifying the city even a day before the buses are sent.

Staten Island Community Council 2 will hold a virtual public hearing at 7 p.m. to answer questions from Staten Islanders about plans to house asylum seekers at the Comfort Inn.

RELATED | 9 busloads of migrants arrive in New York, most in one day since asylum seekers began arriving


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