Staten Island Community Rallies Around Migrants While Waiting for Elected Officials to Act on Crisis

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Media, Queens, NY, World News

By Jessica Easthope

Communicating through a translation app, the language barrier couldn’t hide the desperation of one father who said his son only has a little to eat.

But people in the Travis neighborhood on Staten Island are doing whatever they can.

Lina Maldonado came Wednesday to drop off food, clothing and toiletries.

“We have things others are in dire need of so if we can give it why not, it’s important for me to do so,” she said.

People stopped by all morning with supplies. One of them, a parishioner and catechist at St. Michael’s in Sunset Park.

“What can we say and do but help and provide as much as we can,” he said.

He says his faith is driving him to help – but he can’t do it forever.

“I try to do the best I can for my fellow man for my brothers and sisters but I can only do so much, but faith does play a role, I can only feel hope love and respect for these individuals,” he said.

The two hotels are part of the city’s 48 emergency shelters housing more than 18,000 migrants. Mayor Eric Adams said as busloads keep coming – more shelter is needed, whether some neighborhoods welcome them or not.

“This is a citywide crisis and all of us are going to be impacted and Staten Island is going to be impacted like the other four boroughs,” Mayor Adams said.

Eileen manages a commercial driving school in Travis. She’s been collecting bags of clothing and giving them to migrants who walk by her business.

“They’re here now, we have to help them. That’s just how I was raised. I just can’t imagine how bad it was in their country that they needed to come here,” she said.

The community in Travis is being pushed to the brink – people say the problem is now too big to ignore.

“The problem’s not going to stop whether you close the borders, it’s not going to stop now it’s just between governors and it’s not right using people as pawns,” said the St. Michael’s parishioner.

“This needs to be evenly distributed among all 50 states, not just New York, we’re going to go bankrupt,” Eileen said.

On Thursday, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis is expected to discuss federal solutions to the crisis and her efforts to stem the flow of migrants and speed up the asylum process. For now, the people here continue to rely on donations.