Outraged residents of a smart Bronx area have lashed NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ plan to house 1,000 illegal immigrants in tents in the parking lot of a treasured local beauty spot.
Over the next few weeks, the migrants will begin to be housed in tents in a parking lot in the Orchard Beach section of the borough, next to waspy Westchester County.
According to the mayor, this is part of the city’s response to the humanitarian crisis created by thousands of migrants flooding into New York.
Residents of the Orchard Beach area are far from happy with the developments. Sheila Para, 55, a retired teacher who lives 10 minutes from the neighborhood, told DailyMail.com: ‘Oh no! This is my backyard. It’s going to be a hot mess… Just a hot mess. I am not happy.’
Para, who was enjoying the fall sunshine when she spoke to DailyMail.com Friday, went on: ‘I can’t even imagine that happening. I come here at least a few times a week. It’s my serenity. I like the quietness. It is clean. Now if they are going to be putting up these makeshift tents here it is not going to be the same. It is going to be horrible. I didn’t know that. I am not for it at all.’
The former teacher also expressed concern for the prospect of the criminal element coming to the area saying she was ‘concerned’ for her family’s safety.
‘I don’t want any criminals coming over here. They are going to need to do background checks,’ she said.
Taking aim at Adams, Para said he was a ‘hypocrite’ and called out the Brooklyn-based politician for not housing migrants in his own neighborhood.
‘Of course Mayor Adams doesn’t put the migrants in his neighborhood or his family’s neighborhood . . . anywhere else but his area,’ she said.
Speaking about the border crisis, Para said: ‘I feel so hard people are suffering at the border and I pray for them but I don’t want them coming here. Oh no!’
Sheila Para, 55, a retired teacher who lives 10 minutes from the neighborhood told DailyMail.com: ‘Oh no! This is my backyard’
Veteran Bill Healy, 73, and his wife, Diane, a retired school district employee echoed Para’s comments. Bill said: ‘First of all they are not migrants that is what they are calling them – they are illegal aliens’
Pastor Robert Cole, 62, said of the migrants being housed in the area: ‘Part of me is concerned about the unknown. What is your plan of action? Is it just putting thousands of people in a parking lot’
Veteran Bill Healy, 73, and his wife, Diane, a retired school district employee, echoed Para’s comments. \
‘First of all they are not migrant, that is what they are calling them – they are illegal aliens,’ Bill said. ‘A hundred years ago people are talking about the legal way they came here through Ellis Island run by the Army Medical Core so you came through America here you had to have all your papers together, you had to have sponsors, you couldn’t just walk in here.
‘They are trying to turn America into a third-world country and that is what we are afraid of. How many more people can we absorb in here. We are just letting anyone come in here,’ he said.
Diane chimed in: ‘They are not picking up our culture. It’s like we are dumbing down to them that is just how I feel . . . sorry.’
Bill also aimed criticism at Adams, saying he’s a ‘hypocrite.’
‘He is doing what he is being told by Washington. It is all being dictated and we don’t even know who is running the White House. Susan Rice?’
The couple said that due to the high level of taxation in New York, they’re planning to move to Florida.
Bill added: ‘The real problem is the crime. We cannot go anywhere on the main street anymore at night. There is muggings, rapes, hijackings in broad daylight on Tremont Avenue – Tremont runs all the way through The Bronx and they run their cars at 80 mph all night long and the police don’t do anything.’
When asked about the border crisis, Bill said: ‘There is the human element. I understand but we lost jobs to COVID people couldn’t go to church, funerals, couldn’t go anywhere yet there are these migrants are getting bussed in with no masks, people don’t know who they are.’
Orchard Beach, shown here, is the only public beach in The Bronx, it is part of Pelham Bay Park and located at the western end of the Long Island Sound
This is the parking lot where the migrants will be housed in tents. The tents are climate controlled
An aerial view of an example site. Adams, claiming it as a moral victory, said the issue needed to be treated like a humanitarian crisis
The mayor revealed the plans on Thursday along with photos of the planned relief sites, which resembled the type of tented landscapes often seen in war zones
A pastor and social worker who regularly rides his electric bike in Orchard Beach, Robert Cole, 62, said of the migrants being housed in the area: ‘Part of me is concerned about the unknown. What is your plan of action? Is it just putting thousands of people in a parking lot?’
He added: ‘Let the people know. I think they have a right to know. My biggest concern is I haven’t heard a plan. Are the migrants going to just roam up and down the beach here. They just can’t stay in their makeshift tents all day. I am sure some property owners are concerned. Will they go onto their property?’
Cole went on: ‘How is this going to impact the environment? Thousands of people with nowhere to live. I wish the government on a whole would come together and develop a plan so people can know what is happening and not fly on the seat of their plans that seems to be happening with Mayor Adams right now.’
The pastor continued: ‘‘The Bronx has very little space. We have Van Cortland Park but there is no place like Orchard Beach. It is a place we come to relax and with these thousands of migrants coming here it is unfair to the people who utilize the park and live here and it is not fair for them not to know what is going on.’
An employee of the Pelham Country Club, where membership costs more than $20,000, which is close to Orchard Beach, was not aware of the plan to relocate migrants to the area. She said: ‘I can’t imagine the people here would be comfortable with that. You don’t know how it will change the neighborhood.’
A member of the club, Jim, who was about to play a round when he was approached by our reporter, described the idea as ‘horrible.’
‘This is a much bigger problem than Mayor Adams that needs to be addressed. The way it is being handled at the federal level is disgraceful,’ he said.
He agreed with the notion that Adams is a hypocrite saying, ‘We are supposed to be a sanctuary city obviously The Bronx is part of New York City.
‘It doesn’t seem like a good problem and I am wondering where the outcry was when the Biden Administration was doing midnight flights to Westchester Airport when planes should not be flying after 11pm, so the outrage and the hypocrisy is among all of those individuals because only now because Gov. Abbott and DeSantis are making it a problem here – that is where the outrage is but when it was a secret and the Biden administration was doing that there was no outrage,’ Jim opined.
Jim concluded by discussing the southern border saying: ‘It’s horrible for the people, of course. I think every American’s heart goes out for what they are suffering in their own countries, but there is a way to come into this country, there is a process, and nothing is being done.’
He added: ‘When this all started the administration’s policy was let’s get to the root cause- well there is no recording, there is nothing being done to solve the root cause of the problem and it seems the current administration’s solution is to let everyone in and that is not a solution.’
An employee of the Pelham Country Club, where membership costs more than $20,000, which is close to Orchard Beach, was not aware of the plan to relocate migrants to the area
An employee of the country club told DailyMail.com: ‘I can’t imagine the people here would be comfortable with that. You don’t know how it will change the neighborhood’
Thousands of migrants continue to be sent every week from Texas and Florida, where Republican leaders say it’s high-time Democrats like Adams understand the true scale of the crisis.
In addition to the two migrant sites, Adams has awarded a $34 million contract to Bronx Family Network to set up beds for both migrants and the homeless in the same area. That’s on top of the 6,000 hotel rooms he has already contracted out for migrants in Manhattan.
Adams, claiming the new relief sites will help absolve the problem in New York, said in a press release on Thursday: ‘More than 100 years ago, Ellis Island opened its doors to welcome in those ‘yearning to breathe free.’
An example of the type of site NYC Eric Adams plans to open to house the thousands of migrants arriving every day. One will go in the Bronx and a second location is yet to be confirmed. Adams claimed it as a moral victory. The tents include rows of beds with thin-looking sheets in an outdoor tent, just as winter approaches
One of Adams’ proposed sites is near Orchard Beach, on the peripheries of the city
‘Now, more than ever, it’s clear that we are again dealing with a humanitarian crisis created by human hands.
Adams says it’s unfair for leaders in Texas and Florida to send the migrants to him – despite NYC being the top of all of their lists for refuge
‘While other leaders have abdicated their moral duty to support arriving asylum seekers, New York City refuses to do so,’ he said.
In photos of an example site, cot beds are shown lined up in rows in the outdoor tent.
Adams said they’d only stay there for up to ’96’ hours, then be moved on to their desired ‘settlement’ sites.
‘This is not an everyday homelessness crisis, but a humanitarian crisis that requires a different approach.
‘That’s why the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers will be the first touchpoint for asylum seekers that will provide them with a range of services and support as families determine their next steps.
‘This emergency response represents what we know must be done during this humanitarian crisis, as we continue to seek assistance from our federal and state partners to continue this work.
‘Like the generations that came to our city before, New York will provide the thousands now coming to our city with the foundation to build a better life,’ Adams said.
The town bearing the brunt of the crisis is El Paso, a border community in Texas with just 600,000 full-time residents where thousands of Venezuelans and other migrants are arriving now every week.
Yesterday, locals operating housing shelters and food banks pleaded for help from the Biden administration in an open letter.
They also added that contrary to Adams’ claim that it’s inhumane to bus the migrants from Texas to New York, it’s where almost all of them want to go.
‘About 20% of them want to go to New York,’ Barrow wrote in an open letter on Wednesday. ‘The city has been chartering busses to New York to assist those desiring that destination.
‘I am not aware of anyone being placed on a bus to New York who did not want to go there,’ Blake Barrow, the CEO of the Rescue Mission of El Paso, said in an open letter.
Pictured: A bus carrying migrants arrived in New York City on Sunday, Sep, 4
Migrants arriving in New York City earlier this month. Republican mayors are warning Democratic counterparts they’ll keep sending bus loads of people until they denounce Biden’s border policy
He added that despite having the most hands-on experience with the people crossing the border, no Washington officials have been in touch with them to offer them help or seek their expertise.
‘The immigration processing center became so over-crowded that the government began loading migrants on busses and dropping them off in front of shelters. The Rescue Mission has received about 500 migrants.
‘All of them are from Venezuela. They need showers, good clothes, and food.’
He added that the city desperately needs government help, but is being ignored.
‘The number of migrants we have coming into El Paso is so large that it is overwhelming the housing and support services that the city is able to offer.
‘Obviously, we need a well-coordinated, federal solution to this problem, but, so far, no one from Washington has asked our opinions.’