NYC judge orders Adams administration to move migrants out of Staten Island migrant shelter
New York Daily News September 26, 2023
NEW YORK — A Staten Island judge ordered Mayor Eric Adams’ administration Tuesday to stop using a long-shuttered private school in the borough as a migrant shelter following weeks of protests from local residents angry over the site being used as housing.
But a spokeswoman for Adams said the administration isn’t moving to vacate migrants from the St. John’s Villa Academy site right away despite the ruling from Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Wayne Ozzi. The spokeswoman said that’s because the city’s considering quickly filing an appeal of Ozzi’s preliminary injunction, which is supposed to take effect “immediately,” according to his ruling.
About a month ago, Ozzi issued a temporary restraining order blocking administration officials from housing a handful of migrant families with children at St. John’s. However, that restraining order was vacated within a few hours by a higher court after the Adams administration filed an appeal.
Ozzi’s latest ruling, which comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Staten Island Borough President Vito Fosella and a number of other local Republican politicians, concluded the administration is violating local laws on zoning regulations and public comment requirements by housing migrants at St. John’s.
Notably, Ozzi also argued in his 29-page ruling that using the St. John’s site as a housing facility on an emergency basis isn’t warranted because the city’s decades-old right-to-shelter mandate should not apply to “the tens of thousands of migrant asylum seekers who have arrived in the last 18 months.” Adams’ administration is currently in Manhattan Supreme Court arguing the city should be allowed to suspend right-to-shelter requirements amid the migrant crisis.
Following Ozzi’s latest ruling, Fosella issued a statement urging the mayor to not pursue another appeal.
“It is refreshing to know that there are jurists in our system, like Judge Ozzi, who understands our concerns with having migrant shelters placed within residential areas,” the borough president said. “We urge the city to relinquish using St. John Villa as a migrant shelter and make good on its earlier, more appropriate promise to develop a school at the site.”
The St. John’s migrant shelter has drawn raucous protests in recent weeks. In late August, three people were arrested for breaching barricades set up by the NYPD in front of the emergency shelter.
Some of the protests have taken on xenophobic undertones, with demonstrators shouting “go home” at migrants being housed at the facility.
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