Gina Quinn and Yolanda Adrezzone have both lived in Bellerose, Queens for more than 20 years. They say they are unhappy about their new neighbors, the 800 single migrant men who have moved into city-run tents outside the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.
"This is a residential area. That doesn't belong here. Put it somewhere else, Mayor Adams," Quinn said. "I'm hoping that George Santos can help us."
"Our community is being destroyed, and I'm not the only one who feels like this," Adrezzone added.
On Tuesday, the women and a group of about a dozen protesters were joined by embattled Rep. George Santos near the new migrant facility. Santos said he had yet to go inside the tents.
"I don't think I have to look at the facility. It's a tent," Santos said.
The Creedmoor Psychiatric Center migrant shelter opened a week ago, and it is already at 80% capacity. Two other new shelter sites, one on Randall's Island and another one that is likely to open at Floyd Bennett Field near Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn, are adding 5,500 needed beds for single male migrants.
"What people really want is to move on," Josh Goldfein, staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society, said.
More than 100,000 migrants have arrived in the city since last spring, and more than half of them are in the city's care.
The Legal Aid Society says a larger case management system needs to be in place.
"The city would save money and also save space," Goldfein said.
Advocates for migrants, the city and the state disagree on how to properly place those in the shelter system. They all agree on expediting work authorization to help migrants get out of the shelter system and become more self-sufficient.
"I think we should not cheapen the process," Santos said.
While Santos, who faces his own struggles of federal charges unrelated to the migrant issue, is against expediting work authorization, he does want more judges and agents to process migrants.
Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul pledged $20 million for case workers on Monday to help migrants move out of the shelter system.
Mayor Eric Adams also instituted a policy leaving migrants only 60 days in shelters before they either have to find alternative housing or to reapply for shelter.