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Malliotakis, Staten Island leaders rip Adams’ migrant relocation plan

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(The Center Square) – A New York congresswoman is leading a push to block New York City’s plans to house migrants at a Staten Island senior housing complex, saying the move would violate the law.

The Adams administration is considering a plan to relocate about 50 asylum seekers to St. John’s Episcopal Church. The city continues to grapple with an influx of tens of thousands of migrants, amid a historic surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border. The shelter would be adjacent to Canterbury House Senior Residence, an 85-unit senior housing complex.

In a letter to Rev. Hank Tuell of St. John’s Episcopal Church, U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., ripped the proposed plan as a “slap in the face” to senior residents and the community and vowed to file a legal challenge to block the relocations.

“We will use all legal measures at our disposal to ensure that you uphold the contractual agreement and moral obligation made to those seniors and to our community,” Malliotakis wrote.

The congresswoman, joined by Richmond County District Attorney Michael MacMahon and Staten Island Borough President Vito Forsella, pointed out that Canterbury House’s agreement with the New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal prohibits the church from using the property for other purposes.

“The adjoining meeting room which you intend to use to house migrants was specifically designated as an elderly daycare center and should remain as such,” they wrote.

In a statement, Tuell confirmed the church plans to set up the migrant shelter in the parish but said it will be seperate from the senior housing units and that residents won’t be displaced.

“God has called us to a ministry of hospitality to the stranger in our midst,” he said. “We must defend for the sake of those in crisis whom we have been called to comfort and care for until they have exhausted their legal options under U.S. law.”

New York City has had an influx of more than 130,000 migrants over the past year, with about 70,000 under the city’s care. The city has spent more than $1 billion on housing and other needs for migrants, and Adams has proposed budget cuts to cover those costs.

Under New York’s right-to-shelter law, the city is required to provide emergency housing to anyone who requests it, regardless of their immigration status. The city seeks to suspend the rules in court temporarily, but the outcome of the legal challenge remains uncertain.

Adams has set a 60-day limit on the length of stay in city-run homeless shelters but has also been seeking to relocate migrants to other regions of the state, which has been met with pushback and legal challenges from local officials.

Republicans have long said New York City’s “sanctuary” policies are encouraging asylum-seekers to resettle in the city amid the surge of immigration.

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