Dozens of New York City lawmakers sued Tuesday to try to block the housing of more than 2,000 migrants at Floyd Bennett Field, just days after the city finally inked a deal to use it.
The lawsuit, filed in Richmond County Supreme Court on Staten Island, claims the use of the federal property in Brooklyn violates the state constitution and city laws.
Spearheaded by Democratic state Assemblywoman Jaime Williams and Republican city Councilwoman Joann Ariola, the legal maneuver argues the land is “protected” and that the “leasing of these federal parklands for development is not permitted under the law.
“One would have had to have just fallen from the sky to believe that the erection of structures, development of support infrastructure to assure that the new migrant population was fed, showered, provided with medical care, social services, sanitary facilities, etc., would not have a deleterious effect on the environment and the protected lands,” the suit says.
Its arguments echo some of those raised by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and 21 other GOP legislators last week that claimed the use of such national parkland does not line up with its mission.
The city signed a deal with the federal government Friday that allows it to erect tent-style shelters at the 1,300-acre former naval air station inside Gateway National Recreation Area with a monthly price tag of $1.7 million, which the state has agreed to cover.
Williams, who represents southeast Brooklyn neighborhoods including Marine Park and Canarsie, railed against the Biden administration last month after parents whose kids attend programs at the Aviator Sports and Event Center in the park raised concerns with her office.
When asked about the lawsuit Tuesday, Adams acknowledged that people are “upset” over the migrant crisis and its ensuing issues.
“Everyone is just frustrated, everyone is really upset over this,” the mayor said at an unrelated press conference.
“So if they want to go to court and sue to stop us from doing the Floyd Bennett Field, they have the right to do so.”
But he insisted the location is still better than other spots to house migrants because it is “away from homes, away from communities, away from schools.
“But if we’re not putting it in Floyd Bennett Field, we’re going to put it somewhere. I don’t want to hear them later saying, ‘Don’t put it on my block,’ ” Adams said.
A rep for Gov. Kathy Hochul declined to comment because of the pending litigation, which also targets her administration.
The city has repeatedly called on the White House to free up federal land for the recent tidal wave of migrants in the city, which is shelling out billions of dollars to house tens of thousands of migrants in makeshift shelters around the five boroughs.
Currently, the Big Apple is caring for nearly 60,000 migrants of the now-125,000 who have entered it between April 2022 and this past July.