OAN’s Brooke Mallory
10:56 AM – Wednesday, January 10, 2024
As a massive storm approached the Big Apple this week, nearly 2,000 undocumented migrants were told to flee from a large tent shelter, forcing students at a Brooklyn high school to vacate the classroom and go fully remote as the migrants took over their school spaces.
Officials moved a portion of the migrants inside the second-floor gym at James Madison High School, which is five miles away from the shelter, since they were “afraid that [the] large migrant tent at Floyd Bennett Field might collapse” due to heavy rain and wind.
However, the last-minute decision did not sit well with neighbors and parents of the school.
“This is f—ed up,” said a local resident who referred to himself as “Rob.” “It’s a litmus test. They are using a storm, a legitimate situation, where they are testing this out. I guarantee you they’ll be here for the entire summer.”
“There’s 1,900 people getting thrown into my neighborhood, half a block from where I live, and we don’t know who they are,” he continued. “They’re not vetted. A lot of them have criminal records and backgrounds, and we don’t even know.”
Just before 6 p.m., as the migrants arrived in a line of school buses in the pouring rain, an enraged mother lost her temper with them.
“How do you feel? Does it feel good?” asked the woman, who identified herself as “Michelle.” “How does it feel that you kicked all the kids out of school tomorrow? Does it feel good? I hope you feel good. I hope you will sleep very well tonight!”
“How do you feel stealing American tax money?” said another parent who wished to remain unidentified.
School administrators announced that classes on Wednesday would continue to be conducted remotely due to “the activation of James Madison High School as a temporary overnight respite center” for the undocumented migrants.
With severe rain and gusts blowing up to 70 mph on Tuesday and into Wednesday, local officials concerned for the safety of the migrants decided to remove them from the area.
“To be clear, this relocation is a proactive measure being taken out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals working and living at the center,” said City Hall spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak. “The families are already in the process of being temporarily relocated and will continue to be provided with essential services and support,” she added.
“The relocation will continue until any weather conditions that may arise have stabilized and the facility is once again fit for living,” she continued.
Ten NYPD vehicles and six Emergency Management trucks were positioned outside the high school at lunchtime as preparations for the arrival of the migrants from the airstrip, which was approximately five miles away, were underway.
“They told us we had to get everything out by 5 [p.m.],” said school gym teacher Robyn Levy. “They sent us the email at 6 in the morning. I don’t know when we’ll be able to go back.”
More than twenty school buses gathered at the football field, signaling the start of the migration movement just before five o’clock in the evening.
The 2,000-bed tent facility took a beating last month when strong winds and heavy rain caused metal bolts and hinges to fall off the roof. This was also not the first time extreme weather has caused problems for the facility.
“The wind was so strong, it looked like the tents were going to give way and be blown apart,” said Venezuelan migrant Reibi Rodrigues. “When we told security we were afraid of an imminent collapse, they told us the door was open and we could leave when we want.
Out of the 162,000 undocumented migrants who have entered the five boroughs from the U.S. border since the spring of 2022, at least 70,000 are still in the city’s care.
Additionally, the city set up migrant tents at the former Creedmore Psychiatric Center in Queens and Randall’s Island in Manhattan. Mayor Eric Adams maintained on Tuesday that these locations are less exposed and are “not thought to be susceptible to severe weather.”
Sources say that many of the undocumented migrants have now begun to go back to the tent shelters. However, students from the Brooklyn-based high school are still reportedly being forced to work remotely, prompting parents to demand answers from school administrators and city officials.
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