Police made 10 arrests after fed-up Staten Island residents took to the street Tuesday night and physically blocked the arrival of a bus carrying dozens of illegal immigrants to a residential school that had recently been converted into a shelter.
“The police are arresting law-abiding American citizens to protect law-breaking non-citizens,” Mark Fonte, a lawyer who has filed a lawsuit on behalf of residents of Staten Island trying to stop the city from relocating illegal immigrants to the borough, told The Epoch Times. “The mayor is using his emergency powers to place these unvetted immigrants in residential communities against the will of the people, and the people are angry.”
“The residents are trying to send a message to the migrants that they are not welcome here,” added Mr. Fonte.
Residents have taken to the streets over concerns that the recent influx of illegal immigrants into the borough is changing the nature of the neighborhood, and because many are unvetted, they would further contribute to already high crime rates, according to Mr. Fonte.
“The residents are frustrated that they are being totally ignored. There is no community input in the decision-making, or consultation with community leaders,” said Mr. Fonte. “It's my way or the highway with the Mayor.”
“We have 8.3 million New Yorkers,” said Mr. Adams. “We cannot allow the numerical minority that's show[ing] an ugly display of how we deal with the crisis to be used as an example of what New Yorkers are doing.”
Mr. Adams continued: “Of course New Yorkers are frustrated. New Yorkers are really concerned and even the migrants are really concerned. We are both stating that this crisis should be dealt with in a manner where the national government carries out the role that it's supposed to. It should not be left on the backs of the New York City residents.”
However, the mayor added that no amount of protests will stop the influx of illegal immigrants into the residential neighborhoods.
“We are not going to allow ourselves to be bullied into not carrying out our responsibilities,” said the Mayor.
Staten Island is facing the consequences of a growing surge of illegal immigrants into New York City, the only locality in the state considered to be a “Sanctuary City.” Where to put the influx of new illegal immigrants has become an issue of controversy and inter-party tensions.
The city has long claimed a legal obligation to provide housing for every resident under the so-called “right to shelter” law, which was first established in 1981. The rule came into existence after advocates for the homeless claimed the right to shelter in a lawsuit. The city agreed with the homeless advocates, signing a “consent decree,” which pledged to provide shelter to anyone suffering “physical, mental, or social dysfunction.”
City officials claim an estimated influx of 100,000 illegal immigrants has strained the city’s resources and services. Mr. Adams has insisted that New York City can’t sustain the numbers of new illegal immigrants, even by utilizing the outer boroughs, and has called on the rest of the state to help ease the burden. Staten Island officials claim that it is a crisis of the mayor’s own creation in deeming New York City a “sanctuary city.”
Mr. Fonte says that without a solution on the table, he fears mounting frustrations over the city's refusal to consider the needs and desires of Staten Island residents could soon reach its boiling point.
“I am fearful that the situation is going to escalate and become uglier by the day,” said Mr. Fonte. “Staten Island is not like other boroughs. Staten Islanders hold their ground and fight for their communities and their families.”
“If the mayor doesn’t come up with another plan this is only going to get worse. They need to close the damn border.”