Staten Island officials protest plan to shelter illegal aliens at church: ‘We have to stand and fight back’

A plan to house illegal aliens at a Staten Island church is facing bipartisan pushback from local elected officials, SILive.com recently reported.

On Monday, a group of Staten Island officials held a press conference outside the Faith United Methodist Church on Heberton Avenue in Port Richmond to protest a proposal to place 15 cots inside the house of worship to provide shelter accommodations to single adult men illegally residing in the United States.

‘We should be talking about closing shelters, not opening up new ones.’

According to Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, they were not told about the plan until last week. The church aims to open its doors to the illegal aliens on Tuesday.

Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks (D-North Shore) claimed she first became aware of the proposal on Saturday when she received a text message from Mayor Eric Adams’ (D) administration. Hanks reported that the makeshift shelter will be managed by the New York Disaster Interfaith Services. The illegal aliens will receive meals, a bed, and access to a shower from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day.

“We stand here today as elected officials on behalf of our constituency to vehemently oppose the opening of this migrant shelter,” Hanks stated during the press conference. “Residents of this district are tired. They’re tired of constantly waking up one day to find an institution they trusted has made the decision that they feel will have a negative impact on their community and their safety.”

According to Hanks, six churches on Staten Island will be used to provide shelter to illegal immigrants.

“This approach the administration is taking is changing the fabric of our communities, undermining the trust and stability that these houses of worship have historically provided,” Hanks remarked. “And while the people of Staten Island — including myself and the people that stand behind me — have boundless compassion and charity, our resources are not.”

Fossella warned that the plan would “hurt … this community and the people.”

“Some people in this community wake up every day trying to figure out, ‘How do we make Portland Richmond better? How do we make the North Shore better?’” Fossella continued. “And then along comes the agencies, [which] say, ‘Guess what? Here’s a way we can make it better: We’re gonna’ dump a migrant shelter right in the middle of your neighborhood.’”

“How is that any degree of common sense? It’s not … we have to stand and fight back,” he added.

Fossella noted that the decision to open the shelter space came “out of the blue” and in “the dark of night.”

Councilman David Carr (R-Mid-Island) also joined the press conference.

“I’m not just against migrant shelters in my backyard. I’m against migrant shelters in every one,” Carr said. “We should be talking about closing shelters, not opening up new ones like the one they intend to put behind us. These churches are thoroughly unsuitable for these kinds of facilities.”

New York City is currently providing services to approximately 65,000 illegal immigrants.

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