By Jessica Easthope
Honks of support rang out on Father Capodanno Blvd for the second night in a row.
The crowd was energized in its protest against the conversion of the vacant Island Shores Senior Residences in Midland Beach to the latest of New York City’s emergency shelters, housing some of the 60,000 migrants who have settled in the five boroughs.
“The border is wide open. They’re letting anyone and everyone in, it’s overwhelming at this point,” said Kathy Dredger.
Kathy’s mother lives a few blocks from the new city-run shelter. She says her concern is not why people are coming in – but who they are. But like several others in the crowd, Kathy came to the rally as a concerned resident and a Catholic. She says she has the corporal works of mercy on her mind, but lately it’s hard to ignore the reports citing the 12 billion dollars the city plans to spend on caring for migrants.
“As a Catholic, you want to feed people you wanna clothe people, you want to give them shelter but to what expense? It’s really not fair to the people who live here and are paying taxes and they feel like they are being taken advantage of, it’s out of control.
Fifteen migrant families are currently being housed in the facility, which sat vacant for over a year before the city acquired it.
Staten islanders like Barbara Agugliaro said she understands the frustration of her fellow New York City taxpayers, but her concern is with the migrants.
“I worry about the people in there too, I want them to be safe. They’re human beings, they deserve to have a home and get a job, they should make sure even the people that they are staying with inside of there have background checks. These people don’t know each other that are in there, it’s not like it’s one big family that moved here, they don’t know who they’re sleeping next to, it’s not fair to them either,” she said.
As more people joined as the sun went down, standing away from the crowd was Juan Eduardo. Juan said he didn’t like what he saw coming out of the rally, and is instead looking to his faith.
“We live in America, we’re all immigrants we all come from helping each other, I feel like welcome them, if they’re not doing anything bad, welcome them,” he said.
As protesters made their voices heard on Staten Island, in Washington, the Biden Administration granted Temporary Protected Status for the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants who have crossed the southern border, allowing them to work legally in the United States. According to city statistics there are about 15,000 currently living in New York City.