New York temporarily halts plan to house migrants in elementary school gym after backlash

There are currently 64 cots set up in the school's gymnasium.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
New York City has converted a low-income elementary school's gymnasium into a temporary shelter for illegal immigrants but decided to temporarily reverse course following public outcry by concerned Brooklyn parents, the New York Post reports.

Republican City Councilman Ari Kagan told the outlet that the city didn't inform parents about Mayor Adams' decision because they "knew the community would be against it."

The Adams administration has been in the process of turning PS 188 in Coney Island into a makeshift housing shelter that will reportedly accommodate up to 100 illegal immigrants in the school's gymnasium. The housing of the illegal immigrants was set to begin on Thursday but has since been put on hold after Principal Leslie King sent a letter to parents on Friday which caused an uproar, according to the Post

In the letter, principal King wrote that the Adams administration has chosen the school to be one of the "emergency, temporary sites to house individuals and families who are seeking asylum," and starting Thursday night, "several families will be utilizing the stand-alone gym at your school on a short-term basis."

Parents and members of the community took to social media to express their anger over Mayor Adams' decision, and while the public outcry was effective in temporarily stopping the city from utilizing the school's gym for illegal migrants, city councilman Kagan said, "It’s not going to happen today...but it’s not 100 percent off the table."

There are currently 64 cots set up in the school's gymnasium which is detached from the main building, and city officials have been onsite since Thursday preparing for the arrival of the illegal immigrants following the expiration of Title 24, a Trump-era border policy that expelled migrants over health-related concerns.

The school board issued a letter saying that the city did not give them any "advance notice of this action" and that the board "has been struggling all day to get the most basic information from various agencies regarding how many people will be housed there, for what length of time, whether the individuals have been screened for communicable diseases, what measures are in place to provide services, etc.," NY Post reports.

Democrat Mayor Adams declared a state of emergency in the city of New York in October over the nation's illegal immigration crisis, and requested $1 billion in aid from the Biden administration to help with assistance. Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been shipping illegal immigrants to Adams' sanctuary city to send a statement to both the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers.

On Wednesday, Mayor Adams signed an executive order that suspends New York City’s "right-to-shelter" law to make accomodations for the influx of illegal aliens, which suspends the city’s requirement to secure a bed for those seeking shelter within a certain time frame, according to the outlet.

Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for Mayor Adams, said, "This is not a decision taken lightly and we will make every effort to get asylum seekers into shelter as quickly as possible as we have done since day one."

"In an effort to mitigate those risks and find room within our shelter system, the city has temporarily suspended the policy surrounding for placements in shelters," Levy added.

Mayor Adams has been packing illegal immigrants residing in NYC onto buses and shipping them to Orange County and Rockland County in Upstate New York, specifically the city of Newburgh which had hotels evict homeless veterans earlier this week to make room for illegal immigrants.

In response, both counties have declared a state of emergency, and judges have placed temporary restraining orders on hotels, preventing them from accepting and housing migrants, the outlet reports.

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