Feds and NYC ink deal to use Floyd Bennett Field to house migrants

Gardiner Anderson/New York Daily News/TNS

NEW YORK — New York Cit y Mayor Eric Adams’ administration and the federal government have agreed on a deal for the city to use Floyd Bennett Field in southern Brooklyn to house migrants — after weeks of back-and-forth talks and protests.

Adams, who’s come under attack in recent days for saying the migrant crisis would “destroy” New York City, announced the agreement late Friday afternoon, but instead of thanking President Joe Biden and his administration for coming to terms, he instead focused his praise on New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who’s vowed to reimburse the city for its use.

“New York City has entered into a lease agreement with the federal government that allows us to use Floyd Bennett Field as an emergency site to shelter some of the more than 113,300 asylum seekers who have sought our care since the spring of 2022,” the mayor said in a written statement. “I want to thank Governor Hochul for her commitment to reimbursing New York City fully for the use of this site, and I’m looking forward to further partnerships with our friends in Albany as we manage this ongoing crisis.”

Adams’ relationship with Biden has been frosty for months. He’s blamed his fellow Democrat, who’s facing a presidential election next year, for not doing enough to help the city with the migrant crisis and has demanded more money and faster work authorizations for migrants.

Officials from the Biden administration in turn have said that an unspecified number of migrants now in New York are already cleared to apply for work authorization, but that the city hasn’t yet conveyed how many of them there are.

In his announcement Friday, Adams did not include any information about the terms of the deal, and spokespeople from his office did not immediately respond when asked to provide that information.

Last month, protesters came out against shelters at the site, which sits on a national park, contending that it would put too much strain on surrounding neighborhoods such as Marine Park and Mill Basin.

The mayor didn’t completely ignore the federal government in his announcement, though, and used it to demand that the federal government issue an emergency declaration and criticize it for its efforts so far.

“If the federal government were to issue an emergency declaration, additional federal space and funding would become available to better manage this crisis,” he said. “As I have said before, because we haven’t seen meaningful policy changes that would alter the course of this crisis, we’ve been forced to unsustainably open new site after new site as asylum seekers continue to arrive by the thousands. This is not an adequate solution or any sort of long-term plan by the federal government to this national problem.”

He added that he would “continue to advocate for” expedited work authorizations, a federal declaration of emergency and more money from the feds.