Migrants evacuated from Floyd Bennett Field due to high winds

In response to a major coastal storm threatening New York, city officials made a decisive move to evacuate nearly 2,000 migrants from Floyd Bennett Field, a migrant shelter in Brooklyn. The forecast warned of wind speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour, heavy rain, and potential flooding. These conditions posed a significant risk to the health and safety of the migrants staying in the shelter, prompting this proactive measure​​.

Temporary Relocation to James Madison High School

The migrants were temporarily relocated to James Madison High School in Midwood, Brooklyn. They arrived at the school using public transportation and were housed in the school’s auditorium. The plan was to return them to Floyd Bennett Field the following morning, weather permitting​​.

Impact on Local Community and School Operations

This decision sparked controversy, particularly among parents and community members of James Madison High School. Parents expressed their discontent outside the school, criticizing the administration for prioritizing migrants over their children’s education.

Republican Councilmember Inna Vernikov labeled the move as “unacceptable” and highlighted the unsustainability of Floyd Bennett Field as a housing facility. NYC Comptroller Brad Lander also criticized the decision, pointing out the mismanagement and financial waste in the city’s approach to sheltering asylum seekers​​.

The school was closed for regular classes, and students were switched to remote learning for the duration of the migrants’ stay. This sudden shift in school operations added to the frustration of the local community.

Response and Support from City Officials

Despite the backlash, city officials, including Mayor Eric Adams, emphasized the importance of the safety and well-being of the asylum seekers. The temporary shelter operation at James Madison High School was managed by NYC Health + Hospitals and provided essentials such as food, water, and blankets to the migrants​​.

Broader Context of Migrant Crisis in NYC

This incident reflects a broader challenge faced by New York City, which has seen an influx of over 160,000 migrants since mid-2022. The city’s response to this crisis has involved opening over 200 shelter sites across the five boroughs, including Floyd Bennett Field. However, the site has been the subject of controversy and criticism due to its location and suitability as a shelter​​.

The evacuation of migrants from Floyd Bennett Field to James Madison High School, while a necessary measure for safety, has highlighted the complexities and challenges in managing the city’s migrant crisis. It underscores the need for sustainable, long-term solutions that balance the safety and welfare of asylum seekers with the needs and concerns of local communities.