Refusal of Some Migrants to Settle at Remote Shelter on Floyd Bennet FieldNovember 13, 2023
Migrant families bussed to a newly-opened shelter at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn re-entered a bus shortly after arriving on Sunday, unhappy with the accommodations. City Hall confirmed that some families did not want to settle at the shelter but acknowledged that there were no other placement options for migrants who declined the site. In a video taken by local Brooklyn Assemblywoman Jamie Williams, migrant families with children did an about-face and returned to the bus, carrying their belongings. A city worker ignored Williams’ question on why the migrants were not being housed at the site. Williams stated that the families did not like the tent city accommodations and were not informed in advance that they would be staying in tents.
The lack of space has presented few options for migrants, according to mayoral spokesperson Kayla Mamelak, who stated, “We have used every possible corner of New York City and are quite simply out of good options to shelter migrants.” Mayor Adams was expected to meet with White House officials to discuss the crisis but had to return to the city after the FBI raided his campaign fundraiser’s home as part of an inquiry. It was reported that some two-dozen families totaling 100 people were expected to be brought to the site on Sunday, but it is unclear how many families have stayed.
Migrants staying at Floyd Bennett Field were expected to live in so-called pods, unlike conventional family shelters. The rooms were not wholly private and lacked a kitchen. The mayor’s office did not return a request for comment on why migrants were brought back to the bus. Additionally, Queens Councilmember Joann Ariola has sued the city and state, asking a judge to shut down the site, citing the area’s designation as a floodplain and lack of infrastructure and transportation hubs. Overall, the site was deemed unsuitable for habitation.