Hundreds Of New Yorkers Protest ‘Tent City’ For 1,000 Illegal Immigrant Men Opening Near Elementary School
QUEENS, NEW YORK - AUGUST 16: People attend a protest against the "tent city" for migrants at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center on August 16, 2023 in the Queens borough of New York City. The "tent city" meant for migrants opened on Tuesday and is expected to host about 1,000 migrants as state officials struggle to handle the influx of asylum seekers.
Leonardo Munoz/VIEW press via Getty Images

Hundreds of New York City residents gathered in Queens on Wednesday to protest the opening of a shelter that is expected to house around 1,000 illegal immigrant men near an elementary school and senior center. 

The protesters held up signs and chanted “no tent city,” opposing the move by state officials to house illegal immigrants in the new shelter as hotels and homeless shelters in the Big Apple are overrun with thousands of people who illegally entered the country and were bused to New York. The tent city, approved by state leaders, opened Tuesday after being set up in 10 days in the parking lot of a psychiatric facility in Queens, Fox 5 reported.   

Multiple people were arrested during the protest, including former GOP mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, who allegedly refused police orders to get out of the street where he and others were blocking traffic, according to The New York Post. Protesters displayed signs that read, “This is a national emergency! Close the border!;” “My tax $$$ being used to destroy my neighborhood;” and “Our children deserve a safe school.” 

The Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, where the shelter was set up, is within walking distance from several schools, including elementary and special education schools. At one moment during the gathering, protesters chanted “Close the border!” with many of them waving American flags. Some of the protesters expressed sympathy for the illegal immigrants but said they were more concerned with the location of the shelter, according to Fox 5. 

As New York City struggles to house more than 50,000 illegal immigrants who have flooded the city, officials earlier this month were weighing the option to place many of them in tents in Central Park. 

Anne Williams-Isom, NYC’s deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, said “everything is on the table” at a press conference Wednesday when asked about housing illegal immigrants in city parks as the city reviews around 3,000 possible locations to place them, Bloomberg reported. According to the Gothamist, sources familiar with the city’s deliberations said one of those locations is Central Park, where an estimated 42 million tourists visit each year. 

“We are constantly looking at sites to see how we can accommodate people, but we need support and we think that the system is at a breaking point,” Williams-Isom said. 

Since April of last year, more than 90,000 illegal immigrants have arrived in New York City. As of last month, about 55,000 were still being housed on the city’s dime, causing New York’s homeless shelters to hit capacity. Combined with the large homeless population, the city is now sheltering a record 105,800 people.


The protest also comes as NYC Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul, both Democrats, blame each other for the illegal immigrant crisis hammering the city and the state. Adams has grown outspoken about the lack of help he says the city has received to care for tens of thousands of immigrants, while Hochul’s administration lashed out at Adams in a letter sent Tuesday, blaming the city for lapses in working with the state and for failing to follow through on requests.

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