Makeshift Bronx migrant shelter, ran by man who owned Queens shelter, busted: sources

THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) – An illegal makeshift migrant shelter in the Bronx, operated by the same man who ran a similar shelter in Queens, was busted on Wednesday, according to sources.

At least 45 cramped beds were found in the cellar and first floor of a shuttered store on East Kingsbridge Road, officials told PIX11 News. The migrants were moved to city-run shelters, sources said.

Some of the migrants who were leaving the building Wednesday night told PIX11 News that they prefer to stay on the street.

Another illegal housing operation was busted in a Queens furniture store on Monday night. Both locations were set up by Ebou Sarr, who told PIX11 News that he felt compelled to help because he is a migrant who came to the U.S. decades ago.

Sarr said he was trying to secure a building for better housing for the migrants quicker than the city could. He said he was charging them $300 a month, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner included, and the freedom to come and go as they pleased.

It’s unclear if Sarr will face any charges in connection to the makeshift shelters, authorities said.

‘They’re my people’: Queens man was feeding, housing migrants in his furniture store

Approximately 65,000 migrants are living in city shelters, officials said. The city is exploring putting metal detectors at the Randall’s Island migrant shelter to combat crime, authorities said.

There has been concern about safety in some city-run shelters. A migrant was stabbed multiple times at the former Lincoln Correctional Facility in Harlem, which was converted into a shelter.

The illegal shelter busts also came on the heels of several high-profile crimes allegedly committed by migrants, which has Mayor Eric Adams calling for changes to the city’s sanctuary laws. He’s asking for ICE to be involved as soon as the NYPD makes an arrest — instead of waiting for a conviction.

The changes, though, need to come from the City Council – and the majority said they’re not on board. Gov. Kathy Hochul weighed in, saying that the issue has nothing to do with the state.

Erin Pflaumer is a digital content producer from Long Island who has covered both local and national news since 2018. She joined PIX11 in 2023. See more of her work here.

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