Parents Sound Off On NYC’s Decision To Move Thousands Of Illegal Immigrants To High School Gym

“I do believe they are putting the life of people who are here illegally and not documented over my life," one student said.

Parents and politicians gathered outside of James Madison High School in New York on Wednesday to express their outrage after around 2,000 illegal immigrants were transported to the school to spend the night due to high winds threatening a migrant tent camp. 

On Tuesday, city officials transported the illegal immigrants from Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field to James Madison High School as the city faced a storm causing high winds. The migrants flooding the high school resulted in an early dismissal for students on Tuesday and remote classes on Wednesday. 

“The writing was on the wall the minute the city started being inundated with migrants,” one mother of a student at James Madison told The New York Post. “It’s disgusting. It should not be put on us taxpayers.”

The woman’s daughter added, “I do believe they are putting the life of people who are here illegally and not documented over my life. I am a 15-year-old girl at the school who wants to get her education and better her life, and she can’t come to school today because the day was interrupted by people who aren’t supposed to be here.”

Elina Bekker, another mother of a student at the school said she was concerned that the city’s decision to move migrants to the high school will become “a recurring event.” 

“We were concerned how will this affect those students in the future if it’s a one-time thing,” Bekker said. “But if it’s going to be a recurring event, it’s definitely not acceptable.

“The school should not be used,” she added. “Our kids are supposed to be here feeling safe and able to learn. Many of our kids have Regents coming up in February [and] they just lost a day of school, a day of learning.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams visited the school Tuesday night after the illegal immigrants arrived, saying city workers were “doing a great job keeping asylum seekers safe and dry before they depart tomorrow morning.” 

NYC Education Department spokesman Nathaniel Styer responded to criticism of the move to house illegal immigrants in a school, posting on social media, “Schools are safe havens—for all children, including our newest New Yorkers.” 

“For years, they have opened their doors to families displaced during emergencies. Our city is owed federal support in this crisis, but turning our back on the most vulnerable is not what we stand for,” Styer added.

Many New Yorkers didn’t see it that way, however. NYC Republican Councilwoman Inna Vernikov blasted city and state officials on Tuesday, saying, “Our schools are not migrant shelters!”

New York State Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny joined parents protesting outside of James Madison High School on Wednesday, arguing that the city’s decision to move migrants to the school is not the solution. 

“Today I stood alongside my colleagues in the Assembly, and concerned parents for a Rally outside of James Madison High School. I have been very outspoken about placements of temporary migrant shelters in our communities and within our public schools,” Brook-Krasny said. “We are a compassionate and supportive city, but not one New Yorker believes this is a solution. Our students will be our First Priority!”

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