Groups of activists clashed during a protest against a proposed Staten Island migrant facility and others in New York City this weekend. The fighting signals increasing sentiment among New Yorkers against the city’s policies regarding nearly 100,000 migrants who have entered the city since last year.
The events took place at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the city’s mayor, on Sunday. A number of protesters were holding signs such as “Americans Over Migrants” and some were dressed in clothing supporting former President Donald Trump.
The approximately 100 protesters against a proposed Staten Island migrant facility and others were accosted by about two dozen counter-protesters.
During the protest, former Republican mayoral candidate and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa was arrested. Sliwa has been arrested at several other recent protests against the migrant relocation.
Sliwa criticized the policies of current New York Mayor Eric Adams (D), citing Adams’ statement that he would model himself after Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.
“He’s never done anything Gandhi-like,” Sliwa said. Sliwa then cited his own arrests during “peaceful protest.”
Curtis Sliwa, the man who should've been mayor of NYC, arrested again for peacefully protesting the resettlement of thousands of migrants in New York. pic.twitter.com/QduB4G8e8F
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 27, 2023
The former candidate said that the current illegal immigrants in the city “jumped the queue.”
He also stated that “if I were a migrant and you gave me an opportunity to jump the queue and stay in a hotel, give me three square meals,” saying that the efforts would “basically give me more than homeless people born in America have or veterans who are down on their luck have — you’re damn right they’re gonna keep coming.”
Sliwa was previously arrested last week protesting against using a former senior facility for migrants in Staten Island. He was also arrested two weeks ago after protesting the use of a former psychiatric center in Queens as a shelter.
Local leaders have protested the use of a former Catholic school as another migrant facility.
New York’s leaders have stated that the city is at capacity to aid the migrants. A number of locations, including hotels across the city, are now occupied by the migrants. New York has also sent the migrants to surrounding counties, even after city leaders condemned similar efforts by a number of governors of border states.
The city operates approximately 200 emergency shelters to house the migrants. City leaders state that the current strain is leading to severe budget issues.