Borough President Vito Fossella called on the New York State congressional delegation to introduce legislation to build a tent city on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in answer to a proposal to site a migrant shelter at historic Fort Wadsworth.
“We will be asking our congressional delegation from New York to introduce legislation to mandate and compel the federal government to put and build tents on the National Mall before any other federal property is used to accommodate migrants,” said Borough President Fossella during a press conference outside of Fort Wadsworth. “We think that crystalizes the issue as a federal one. The federal government should solve it before forcing the people of Staten Island and others to solve a problem that they didn't create."
He recalled a recent press conference at the same site to introduce the Blue Star Families, an organization which provides resources to military families and runs a pantry at Fort Wadsworth for the active service members who live there.
“The reason why they have to have that food pantry is because many of the military personnel, especially those with young families, can’t afford to feed their families or can’t afford to put diapers on their children,” Borough President Fossella said. “So, we came together as a community to let people know that if you wanted to donate, you could do so. And here we are months later and there’s a contemplation here to spend millions or billions on accommodating asylum-seekers. There’s something brutally bad about that. It’s a problem about establishing priorities -- we’re not willing to give military families a few bucks to clothe or feed their kids, but without hesitation, we are contemplating putting who knows how many asylum-seekers on the grounds of Fort Wadsworth.”
While Borough President Fossella said he was sympathetic to those who want to live a better life, he called it financially unsustainable with a cost that will continue to grow.
“The borders are wide open and people were coming in through Texas,” he said. “They ended up in Travis, they ended up in Tompkinsville, their ending up in Midland Beach -- and we’re fighting that, too. And now they might end up in this beautiful neighborhood."