ORCHARD BEACH, Bronx (WABC) — A humanitarian assistance center for asylum seekers originally planned for Orchard Beach is being moved to Randall’s Island in response to negative action and flooding.
The new location for the proposed “tent city” would be in the Icahn Stadium parking lot, which Adams said would be less prone to flooding and closer to transportation.
“Following this weekend’s storms, New York City Emergency Management has determined that, while we will be able to implement the necessary water mitigation measures, moving Orchard Beach’s humanitarian aid center to Randall’s Island is the most efficient and effective way forward, and work is underway to take that step,” he said in a statement Monday night.
The decision came just hours after Bronx community leaders and immigration advocates staged a protest Monday against an initially proposed “tent city” location for migrants arriving by bus from southern states.
Protesters from both sides of the political spectrum were outside City Hall, demanding transparency on how the city plans to handle the asylum-seeker crisis.
The a temporary center for humanitarian aid Dubbed a “tent city” by immigration advocates, they have questioned the shelter’s location, saying it is too far from public transportation for migrants to access potential jobs or other services.
“We don’t want this temporary shelter to end up being a de facto shelter for people with 1,000 beds,” said Murad Awadeh of the New York Immigration Coalition. “Where people are going to sleep and just be there in Orchard Beach, which is incredibly far from real public transportation.”
They were also opposed to the location because the area is prone to flooding. Those who support the tent city were equally concerned about the flooding and the possibility of offering a safe place for so many migrants to live.
New York City reports that more than 16,000 asylum seekers have gone through the city’s asylum process.
The tents will be large industrial, heated shelters that can house up to 1,000 migrants at a time, Mayor Eric Adams said, and are meant to be a temporary stop for migrants once they get back on their feet.
He said asylum seekers are a “humanitarian crisis” that is separate from the city’s right to asylum claim, and while the city will continue to provide shelter to all asylum seekers, it may not be the same. levels, and in accordance with established law – shelter services for the urban homeless.
“We will treat everyone humanely, but these are different entities,” he said. “This is a migrant and asylum seeker crisis and this is how we will respond to it.”
Before the latest move, the mayor said the city is working with the state to create transit options and has a plan to move migrants ahead of the flood.
“The far right is doing wrong things. The far left does nothing. I mean, it’s silence. I can’t believe the silence I hear. These are people who need services,” Adams said. “I think we had six to eight buses two days in a row. That’s a lot.”
While immigration advocates were concerned about asylum seekers’ access to resources, GOP leaders were equally concerned about the potential crime the “tent city” could bring to surrounding communities.
Bronx Republican Party Chairman Michael Rendino and former Bronx Republican Party Chairman held a news conference Monday morning with community leaders and clergy to announce the action taken against the humanitarian aid center.
“Regardless of how you felt about President Trump, when he was president, illegal immigrants didn’t flood across the border,” Rendino said. “These tents have no place here. They crossed the border illegally and they need to return.”
It was a collection of self-proclaimed fans of Ultra MAGA and Proud Boys. They say they are tired of the Bronx being used as a political pawn.
“They are more interested in sympathizing with rapists, murderers, drug dealers and thieves than they are in protecting the lives of men, women, children and the elderly,” said New York State Senate candidate Samantha Zherka.
Some Republicans even blamed the Republican governor of Texas.
“They keep coming down on us and I want to know where are my Bronx Democrat politicians? Why aren’t they standing here with me to call out Governor Abbott, Mayor Adams and President Biden?” – said Rendino.
Meanwhile, not far from Orchard Beach, but far from politics at 239 Play, they are trying to do something.
A clothing collection site for asylum seekers run by the non-profit organization City Island Rising has been overwhelmed with donations.
“It’s a big contrast to the fear mongering that maybe being used now,” said John Doyle of City Island Rising.
“Regardless of your other views, people in need, you help them,” said store owner Dan Treiber.
As for the demonstrators, they say that they are going to file a lawsuit to stop the movement of the center.
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