Outraged Staten Island residents took to the street Tuesday night to physically block the arrival of an MTA bus carrying asylum seekers to a newly converted shelter — a move that Mayor Eric Adams called “ugly,” even as over 100,000 migrants have been shipped to the Big Apple since last year.
The group of unruly protesters, captured on video wailing and banging on the sides of the bus, halted traffic just before 10 p.m. after intercepting the bus, which was headed to the former Island Shores senior assisted living facility.
Police said 10 people were taken into custody, with nine being issued summonses for disorderly conduct.
A 48-year-old man, identified as Vadim Belyakov, was charged for allegedly assaulting an officer who was trying to make an arrest.
One video taken of some of the protesters outside the facility at Father Capodanno Boulevard and Midland Avenue showed people whistling and screaming, “You’re not welcome!” and “You are illegal!”
Other videos show demonstrators carrying signs and chanting “USA! USA! USA!” while a man with a megaphone denounces the migrants’ arrival.
No physical altercations were reported with any migrants or bus personnel, police said.
Adams addressed the chaotic demonstration during a television appearance on NY1 Wednesday morning, conceding that the “ugly display” put on by a very small group of New Yorkers should not represent the city’s residents as a whole.
“We have 8.3 million New Yorkers and we cannot allow the numerical minority that shows an ugly display of how we deal with crisis be used as an example of what New Yorkers are doing. Of course, New Yorkers are frustrated, New Yorkers are really concerned,” the mayor said.
“And even the migrants are really concerned,” Adams added. “We are both stating that this crisis should be dealt with in a manner where the national government carries out the role that it is supposed to. It should not be left on the backs of New York City residents.”
Adams noted that the NYPD “handled those small number of people” who were acting disorderly.
“I understand the frustration that New Yorkers are going through and understand the frustration that asylum seekers are experiencing as well,” he said.
New York City officials have been considering changing how long single adult asylum seekers can stay in city shelters from 60 days to 30.
While Gov. Kathy Hochul met with President Biden on Tuesday during his trip to the Big Apple for the UN General Assembly this week and apparently discussed the migrant crisis, Adams has not met with the president.
When asked what he would tell Biden if they had time to meet this week, Adams told NY1 he is not one to be “quiet” about what he feels New York City should be doing.
“We need a decompression strategy, we need to properly fund this national crisis by calling it a state of emergency and we need to allow the asylum seekers to work,” Adams said, adding that he feels it’s “wrong” for New Yorkers to be responsible for what he said could be a $12 billion tab over the next three years.
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