A judge in Staten Island last week ordered the City of New York to remove the migrants staying at a controversial shelter in a residential neighborhood, but Mayor Eric Adams’ office has vowed to appeal, CBS News reported.
In a decision last Tuesday, Supreme Court Judge Wayne Ozzi ordered the city to stop using St. John Villa Academy in Staten Island, siding with Staten Island officials and residents who fought against the city placing a migrant shelter in their residential area.
Borough President Vito Fossella, a plaintiff in the case, was pleased with the decision and vowed to “continue to fight if necessary.”
Judge Ozzi’s ruling followed weeks of protests from Staten Islanders who opposed placing a migrant shelter across the street from a girls’ school. The school had erected a large fence to protect students from the migrants.
The judge dismissed the city’s central argument that the Right to Shelter law requires it to find space where it can, including at the Staten Island location, to deal with the 116,000 migrants that have arrived in the city, maintaining that the Right to Shelter law is “an anachronistic relic of the past” intended to deal with housing “Bowery derelicts.”
The Mayor’s office has already announced it will appeal the decision.
In a statement after the ruling, a spokeswoman for Mayor Adams’ office said the mayor understands that New Yorkers are “tired of shouldering the burden of this nationwide crisis,” but noted that with the sheer number of migrants arriving every month, the city has no option but to find any shelter it can.
The mayor’s office said that the judge’s decision would jeopardize its ability to provide shelter at the scale needed and said it was “taking steps” to appeal the ruling, which it said is “incorrect in key respects.”
Borough President Fossella told CBS New York that while the city’s heart is in the right place, it must put New York City taxpayers first and “put the emphasis” on the federal government.
How many migrants are currently staying at St. John Villa Academy is unclear. City officials estimated the number at about 100. But the facility can hold up to 300.