Following a series of protests across Staten Island over proposed shelters sites for asylum seekers, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis appeared on “Mornings On 1” Wednesday to address the migrant crisis and voice concerns from her constituents.
The protests, sparked by fears over the safety of local communities, have included strong language against asylum seekers, prompting Mayor Eric Adams to condemn them as racist and “challenging to hear.”
However, Malliotakis said residents are afraid because of what they have heard from other migrant sites.
"They're reading newspaper articles about two rapes that occurred at a shelter upstate, drug use outside of shelters where there were overdoses here in Manhattan. They’re reading articles – just yesterday, CNN reported that the FBI identified that there are migrants that are being smuggled by ISIS that they're trying to locate. And they’re concerned about drug cartels smuggling not just humans, but also drugs and fentanyl,” she said.
Emphasizing the need for better communication and vetting, Malliotakis said New York City has to begin cracking down on those entering the city’s care.
“I'm sure [there’s] many people who are good people, but the reality is, is that they are not coming through the proper process. The proper process would allow for vetting, would allow for quarantine – and there are concerns about illnesses,” she said.
Malliotakis said she was also frustrated that Staten Island was being subjected to Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s migrant policies, saying most of her constituents oppose emergency housing for migrants in neighborhoods. Instead, she suggested the city look into alternatives such as Roosevelt Island, Rikers Island or the USNS Comfort.
Malliotakis also said she would like consideration for the possibility of Staten Island seceding from the city and state.
“The reality is the City Council and the state Legislature would need to let Staten Island go. I hope they do reconsider this. I mean, I hear all the jokes all the time that they would love to get rid of Staten Island. Well, this is your opportunity,” she said. “I think Staten Island would like to have an opportunity to self-govern.”