Nearly 2K migrants to be evacuated from Floyd Bennett Field for night due to storm

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Migrants evacuated from Floyd Bennett Field
Lindsay Tuchman is in Brooklyn with the story.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Officials announced Tuesday that migrant families will be evacuated from Floyd Bennett Field for the night out of an abundance of caution in anticipation of the storm and high winds.

Somewhere between 1,900 and 2,000 individuals will be moved on a fleet of buses to the auditorium at James Madison High School in Midwood, Brooklyn.

As a result, the school will revert to remote learning on Wednesday, with the building closed to students.

While flooding is not a major concern, updated forecasts estimate wind speeds to be over 70 mph.

However, critics say the move will be traumatic and disruptive for families:

"This last-minute evacuation further proves that Floyd Bennett Field - a facility mired in a flood zone, miles from schools and other services - has never and will never serve as an appropriate and safe place to shelter families with children," the Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless said in a joint statement.

Comptroller Brad Lander said the move highlights the "mismanagement and waste of money that is all-too-present in City Hall's approach to shelter and services for asylum seekers."

Lander has also launched an investigation into the 60-day limit at shelters as New York City began evicting migrant families from city-run shelters on Tuesday morning.

Forty asylum seeker families had to check out of the Row Hotel in Midtown after Mayor Eric Adams imposed a limit on how long families can stay in the shelter system as it reaches capacity.

Joe Torres is in Midtown with the story.

Lander said his investigation was prompted by the lack of information and communication about the evictions.

"On top of its cruelty, it has been poorly communicated so families aren't aware of their options, they don't know what is necessary to continue to shelter," Lander said.

Among those evicted on Tuesday was 26-year-old Maria Quero and her 39-year-old husband David Dominquez.

They packed their bags and made their way to the Roosevelt Hotel where they will reapply for an extension -- something they desperately need considering Quero is eight-months pregnant.

"It's complicated," said the mother-to-be. "We don't know what's going to happen with us, that's the most complicated part."

Additional families will receive similar notices in the coming days and weeks.

The city will try to place families in or near the school district where their children are currently enrolled and officials say no child will be forced to change schools, as is required by federal law. The Department of Education will also be on hand to make sure students' educations are not interrupted.

The city put the 30-day limit for single adults and 60-day limit for families in place to free up shelter space. But some critics say it's only causing more chaos, and on top of it, buses of migrants from Texas continue to arrive.

Last week, Adams announced a lawsuit against the 17 charter bus companies that have been transporting migrants to New York City.

About 162,000 migrants who have flooded into the city since 2022 and about 70,000 migrants remain in the city's care.

During an appearance on 'Extra Time' Tuesday, Christine Quinn, CEO and President of Women in Need, said there are a number of things the city can do to help migrants on top of the growing homelessness problem.

"Right now, we are housing all of these asylum seekers in hotels and we're kicking families out, pregnant women, families with little children after 60 days which is only about harassing people," said Quinn. "If we gave all of these asylum seekers and other undocumented people who are in shelters -- if we gave them housing vouchers, they would have a way out."

Christine Quinn, President and CEO of Women in Need, joins Extra Time to discuss the issues surrounding the migrant crisis in NYC.

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An investigation is ongoing.


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