‘Uptick in crime’ near controversial NYC migrant shelter prompts GOP lawmakers to demand vetting process records: Report

An “uptick in crime” near a controversial New York City migrant shelter prompted Republican lawmakers to send a letter, obtained by the New York Post, to the National Park Service demanding information about the vetting process for tenants.

House Republican Bruce Westerman, the chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, and seven other GOP lawmakers penned a letter to NPS director Charles Sams stating that the House Committee on Natural Resources is examining the decision to house migrants at Floyd Bennett Field, which is located on NPS land.

The city began housing migrants at the Brooklyn airfield in November after its existing shelter system neared capacity. Many of the migrants who were part of the first busload transported to Floyd Bennett Field refused to reside at the makeshift tent city shelter, complaining that the accommodations were too remote.

The shelter, which can house up to 2,000 migrants, became a hotbed for panhandling, according to residents in the area. An increase in begging and criminal activity prompted Democratic Mayor Eric Adams to impose a curfew at some migrant shelter locations.

“Since the establishment of the migrant encampment at Floyd Bennett Field, local and national media have reported an uptick in crime at the migrant encampment and in the immediate neighborhood surrounding the park,” lawmakers wrote to Sams.

The letter stated that the migrant crisis has led to an increase in criminal activity in the city and nationwide.

“The widespread reports of criminality in and around the Floyd Bennett Field migrant encampment include domestic violence, assault, shoplifting, prostitution, and panhandling scams,” the lawmakers said. “The Committee is deeply concerned with the Biden administration’s management of American’s public lands, notably at Floyd Bennett Field, and the inherent safety risks to employees at the park, residents of the surrounding communities, and migrants as a result of the decision to lease national park land for a migrant encampment.”

The lawmakers noted that the lease agreement states that the New York Police Department is the “primary entity responsible for law enforcement issues” at the encampment but that the Adams administration “contracted with a private security firm.”

“[O]n at least one occasion, the private security firm has impeded NYPD officers attempting to access the camp,” the letter claimed.

Lawmakers added that migrant tenants “are not subject to a basic background search during the intake process.”

“All tenants, employees of Floyd Bennett Field, and surrounding residents deserve to know if they are living with migrants who have previous arrest records and/or convictions,” the House Republicans wrote.

The letter requested that the NPS provide lawmakers with “documents and communications” concerning the lease and the shelter’s intake process by April 11.

Lawmakers demanded evidence that shows “how NPS has cooperated, or plans to cooperate, with [Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” “how the migrant tenants at Floyd Bennett Field are screened,” and “how NPS is preventing persons with a history of criminal conduct from residing at Floyd Bennett Field.”

The letter was signed by Republican Representatives Westerman from Arkansas, Paul Gosar from Arizona, and Mike Collins from Georgia. New York Republican Representatives Anthony D’Esposito, Andrew Garbarino, Nick LaLota, Nicole Malliotakis, and Elise Stefanik also signed the correspondence.

Neither the NPS nor Adams’ office responded to a request for comment from the Post.

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