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New York City Mayor Defended His Decision to Temporarily Shift Immigrants on a School Ground, Assuring Parents Not to Worry

The debate continues

The controversies around turning a school building into a temporary shelter for immigrants and asylum-seekers seemed to have taken the form of a never ending debate between parents and the New York City Officials. On Thursday Morning, New York City Mayor Eric Adams appeared in an interview on the show called “Good Morning America” and defended the decision that he took in face of emergency. 

The incident

The controversy started when the authority decided to shift the immigrants from a temporary tent-shelter to the school building of James Madison High School for one night. The officials claimed that this decision was taken because the weather forecasters had been alerted about an upcoming storm. The tents of the temporary shelter at Floyd Bennett Field were not strong enough for standing against the strong winds. 

Being concerned about the safety of the residents of the shelter, the responsible authorities transported the immigrants to the school by “chaperon” vehicles on Tuesday night. They stayed in the school building overnight and they were shifted back to their camps on Wednesday morning. Due to the activities of sheltering and transportation, the school announced that the classes will be held in a virtual mode for Wednesday.

Adams defended the decision

Adams stated that he meant no harm to the students of James Madison. He explained that the immigrants were facing several serious safety concerns. The wellbeing of the people who took temporary shelter under the American Government are considered his responsibility. He also said that the immigrant families also had women and children with them and confirming their safety was his moral obligation. 

He further went on to address the concerns raised by the worried parents. He affirmed that the learning of a child does not stop if the school closes for an emergency for just one day, According to him, the school buildings had been always considered as temporary respite for people who are in need. The weather alert was posing a serious threat and he confirmed that the situation was an exceptional one rather than a repetitive one. 

Mayor Eric Adams

His statement was backed by another New York Official who was in charge of the relocation of the immigrants. New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zachary Iscol addressed the parents in a virtual press conference on Wednesday and assured them that their fear for the well being of their children was baseless and the school would resume its regular activities from next day onwards. 

Adams’ opinions seem to be different from others 

Even though there are some officials who backed up Adams, there are opposing statements as well. NYC Councilwoman Inna Vernikov called the relocation of 2000 immigrants on the school grounds as a totally “unacceptable event” and stated that the public schools are places for children to learn and grow, rather than temporary rescue shelters for the asylum-seekers. NYC Councilwoman Inna Vernikov mirrored this argument as she requested the New York Officials to halt the “failed” project. 

The school in question went back to the in-person class schedules on Thursday and the school went on with its regular normal activities. The leaders of the schools had stated that they were pleased to have cooperated with the New York officials. The classes on Wednesday were held in a virtual mode and teachers were requested to be available for the students whenever they had any doubt or question. 


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