New York Republicans Denounce the Housing of Migrants at JFK Airport, Citing Terror Risk, as New York City Sues Counties Over Deepening Crisis

‘The housing of unvetted migrants on the campus of one of the world’s busiest airports willfully ignores public safety,’ nine members of Congress wrote.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Mayor Adams on April 18, 2023, at New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

As New York City grapples with the influx of tens of thousands of migrants, the city is suing counties across the state over their refusal to help with housing them. Meanwhile, New York Republicans are condemning the housing of migrants at JFK Airport, claiming it’s a safety and security hazard.

According to Mayor Adams, the city has supported 72,000 migrants at locations across the city up to this point. However, he’s warned that the city’s resources are being stretched thin.

To help house the migrants Mr. Adams has called for them to be accepted by faith-based organizations, private residents, and other counties in New York, to mixed success.

“It is my vision to take the next step to these faith-based locales and then move to a private residence,” Mr. Adams said Monday. “They have spare rooms.”

While Mr. Adams’s call for New Yorkers to house migrants in their spare rooms has been widely criticized on social media, his plan to send migrants upstate has led to a lawsuit.

Last month, the Rockland County executive, Ed Day, declared a state of emergency over the issue and threatened to grab Mr. Adams “by the throat” if he sends migrants to Rockland County.

The city challenged Mr. Day’s order in court, alongside a similar order in Orange County, and on Wednesday, Judge Nelson Roman of the Southern District of New York temporarily stopped these counties from enforcing their respective orders.

“While it does not bar all travel or residency in the County for migrants or asylum seekers, it is clear that the Rockland County [executive order] does impede travel to the county for the migrants and asylum seekers,” Judge Roman wrote in his order.

Mr. Adams celebrated the order from Judge Roman and said that he hoped the lawsuit would temporarily allow the city to continue bussing migrants north. “Some elected officials have attempted to build metaphorical walls around their localities with unlawful executive orders,” Mr. Adams said in a press release.

Mr. Day responded to Mr. Adams’s statement by saying that “instead of living up to that declaration of sanctuary, Mayor Eric Adams and the city is exporting them to neighboring municipalities across the state of New York.”

One migrant who was bused to Newburgh told the Associated Press that he preferred New York City because, “There, no one cursed at you and said ‘go back to your country.’”

At the same time, New York Republicans have condemned the federal government and the Port Authority’s approval for using an old postal warehouse at JFK Airport as a shelter.

The letter, sent by Representative Anthony D’Esposito and co-signed by Representatives Elise Stefanik, Nick Langworthy, Marc Molinaro, Claudia Tenney, Nick LaLota, Andrew Garbarino, Brandon Williams, and Mike Lawler, argues that housing migrants at the old postal warehouse would compromise the airport.

“The 9/11 Commission carefully laid out recommendations to prevent and combat acts of terrorism, some of which addressed major vulnerabilities in general and cargo aviation security, such as inadequate screening and the need for layered security systems,” the letter reads.

They added that the “housing of unvetted migrants on the campus of one of the world’s busiest airports willfully ignores public safety.”


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