A New York City school announced that it would be closing in-person classes in order to move migrants onto the campus. The move came as New York City struggles to handle the influx of more than 150,000 migrants since 2022.
The office of New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) said that almost 2,000 migrants would be moved from temporary shelter at Floyd Bennett Field to James Madison High School.
The city described the school’s role as a “temporary overnight respite center.” The mayor said that the move was done out of an “overabundance of caution.”
The move was met with significant criticism from both parties. Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R) said that the move was “unacceptable.”
“Our public schools are meant to be places of learning and growth for our children, and were never intended to be shelters or facilities for emergency housing,” said Vernikov.
In addition, city Comptroller Brad Lander (D) said that the original use of the airfield “highlights the mismanagement and waste of money that is all-too-present in City Hall’s approach to shelter and services for asylum seekers.”
Brooklyn — New York City officials shut down James Madison High School in order to house thousands of migrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally through the southern border. The students will have remote learning during this time.
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) January 10, 2024
Parents expressed frustration with the plan to move the students from in-person to remote learning.
A number of parents shouted at the migrants as they arrived at the school and asked about the move. New York faced heavy rain and winds earlier this week, prompting the shift from the large tents set up for the migrants at the Brooklyn airfield.
City Hall spokesperson Kayla Mamelak called the move a “proactive measure being taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and wellbeing of individuals working and living at the center.”
The spokesperson said that the migrant families “will continue to be provided with essential services and support.” She added that the “relocation” would continue until “any weather conditions that may arise have stabilized and the facility is once again fit for living.”
The mayor previously warned that the influx of migrants would seriously impact the city, and New York has already announced a number of significant budget cuts.