Protesters on Tuesday night sent a strong message for migrants seeking refuge in New York City.
“Take a bus. Take a flight to another country. They’re ruining us," said Rockaway resident Michael Sullivan, who stood among hundreds of protesters at Floyd Bennett Field in Marine Park on Tuesday.
Together, they aired their frustrations with a new plan by Gov. Kathy Hochul that could create housing for up to 2,500 adult migrants seeking refuge. Some residents said they fear migrants haven’t been properly vetted before arriving in New York City.
“We have ice skating rinks, gymnasium and footballs fields. Kids play there," said Sullivan. "We don’t need these guys hanging around who are unvetted. We have no idea.”
Once the Floyd Bennett Field lease is finalized, the state and the Adams administration will start installing shelters at the site. But protesters NY1 spoke with said the former naval air station is not the right place to house migrants.
“The streets being dangerous. Flatbush Avenue becoming a nightmare. It’s already terrible," said Marine Park resident Madeline Salamista.
As of August 13, more than 100,000 asylum seekers have come through the city’s shelter system. According to the United Nations, most of the migrants coming into the United States are from Venezuela and Africa and are fleeing political persecution.
“I’m sure some of these people are wonderful people who work hard to become Americans, but that’s not even the point. We don’t even have enough tax money for our own needs," said John, another protester who didn't want to share his last name.
Residents are calling on Mayor Eric Adams, Gov. Kathy Hochul and President Joe Biden to immediately put an end to the proliferation of migrants.
“We have no idea who has what, who’s done what, who is who. I’m sorry, we just can’t have this," said Sullivan. "Close the border."
The governor said the state will pay for the operation of Floyd Bennett Field; however, it’s unclear when the site will open to migrants.