Biden Administration Finalizes Contract With NYC to Use Floyd Bennett Airfield as Shelter For Asylum Seekers

NEW YORK, New York – The Mayor of New York City Eric Adams says the city and the US federal government have finalized an agreement on the use of the Floyd Bennett Airfield in Brooklyn to shelter asylum seekers.

bennlloAfter months of negotiations, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced last month that the Joe Biden administration had provided New York with a tentative contract that would allow the state to utilize Floyd Bennett Field as a shelter for asylum seekers.

“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,” said Adams on Friday. 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 [New York’s capital] as we manage this ongoing crisis. 

“But let’s be clear: If the federal government were to issue an emergency declaration, additional federal space and funding would become available to better manage this crisis,” he added. “Further, 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,” the mayor continued. “We will continue to advocate for expedited work authorizations for asylum seekers, a federal declaration of emergency, more federal funds, and a national and state decompression strategy. 

“We are hopeful that today’s announcement is an example of the state and federal governments’ commitment to leading on this national humanitarian crisis,” he said. 

Adams said that, for months, he and Hochul have been urging the federal government to allow New York to use Floyd Bennett Field to help house some of the more than 100,000 asylum seekers who have sought care in New York City.

New City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, said he was “glad to see the governor commit this location and funding to provide shelter for the ever-increasing number of new and aspiring New Yorkers arriving in our city.

“The site is not ideal, but we continue to be left to choose the best of bad options,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

Williams said he will “work to ensure that shelters meet the necessary standards, including security precautions, resource availability, and transportation access to and from the site for migrants and community organizations alike.

“I hope that this and other actions signal a sustained and increased effort by the state to step up with financial and infrastructural support to meet this humanitarian crisis,” he said.

“I appreciate the federal government approving this site location – their support cannot end with approval, as there is a much greater responsibility,” Williams added. “We urgently need more federal funding, resources, and infrastructure to help ensure that people fleeing danger and seeking asylum and support in our country are met by the federal government with aid, not apathy.”