This week, almost 2,000 migrants were temporarily moved from a tent shelter in New York City to a nearby high school because of a major storm. On Tuesday, a migrant tent shelter in Floyd Bennett Field was evacuated due to high winds and a winter storm, and the residents were taken to the nearby James Madison High School to shelter overnight.
New York City has seen record waves of migrants in recent years, and the “sanctuary city” has struggled with finding accommodations for all of its asylum-seekers and immigrants. Floyd Bennett Field, a historic airfield on the edge of Brooklyn, has been the home of a tent shelter for almost 2,000 migrants. However, due to cold temperatures and vicious winds of almost 70 MPH, city officials decided to temporarily evacuate the tent shelter’s residents and workers.
This is not the first time there has been controversy over Floyd Bennett Field’s migrant tent city. The first migrants arrived at the remote location in November 2023 and immediately voiced concerns about the safety and remoteness of the site. Far away from jobs and resources, many people opted to move out of the shelter as soon as possible to be closer to work, school, and other needs for their families. Additionally, a vicious storm in December pounded the shelter site, shaking bolts and hinges loose from the ceiling. There has been bipartisan criticism of the choice of location as well as the quality of the migrant shelter, but it is unclear whether anything will change in the long run at Floyd Bennett Field.
Nearby James Madison High School was chosen as the temporary emergency shelter, and teachers were warned Tuesday morning that they needed to have everything cleared out by that evening. Busses carrying migrant families and workers began arriving Tuesday afternoon in the midst of wind and rain, interrupting some of the high school’s activities. Many of the families ended up sleeping in sleeping bags on the school’s floors overnight.
Severe winter weather forced thousands of immigrants in New York City to be evacuated from their temporary housing. Migrants were moved into a local high school, forcing students to attend classes online.
— NewsNation (@NewsNation) January 10, 2024
Because of this unexpected disruption for the school, all classes were moved online for Wednesday. Many parents and nearby residents were unhappy with this decision, and some people were seen protesting outside the high school.
As the storm died down Wednesday morning, the migrants began boarding busses once more and headed back to the tent shelter at Floyd Bennett Field. Although the school is being cleared out again, it is unclear whether the students’ classes will continue to be online for the rest of the week.