NYC Opened a Migrant Center in SI. Fossella Says, "Challenge That Thing!"

Photo: Getty Images North America

Staten Island residents are furious about the migrant center that opened up at the former St. John Villa Academy site in the Arrochar section. A crowd of about a thousand people showed up last week to demonstrate, and another 400 people turned out Monday night. Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella is among the vocal critics of the city’s migrant policy. He appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to explain why residents of the Forgotten Borough feel like the city pulled a fast one at their expense by putting the center in their neighborhood.

“People say, ‘Well, you voted for this, you wanted this,’- Staten Island did not,” Fossella told Riedel and former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, sitting in for Berman. “Staten Island didn’t create this problem… the federal government (did), and now Staten Island is asked to solve the problem, and we don’t think that’s right or fair.”

Fossella says the right to shelter policy that was created in the 1980’s is being abused today. “The motive there was just to take care of people, you know, New Yorkers, if you will, in the streets during the winter months. A handful, okay, we sort of get that. But… the foundation of this policy is this right to shelter consent decree. That needs to be modified, because the logical extension of all this is, if a million people came to New York City and said, ‘We want you to put us up’, the proponents would say, ‘Yes, we do!’. And what we’re saying is, ‘No, you don’t!’. Challenge that thing and I think we will help solve the problem”.

Staten Island blocked the city from opening the facility, only to have the decision overturned on appeal. Fossella says there will be more court challenges to come. “We took the city to court last Friday, and we were successful for a temporary restraining order… The city appealed, and it was reversed on appeal, but we will be going back to court on September 6th at 2:15 to argue on the merit that this is just the wrong spot for a migrant shelter.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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