NEW YORK (PIX11) — Several people have been arrested after protests turned violent outside the Gracie mansion Sunday afternoon.
New Yorkers have clashed over what they think is the best solution to tackle New York City’s immigrant crisis. Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa said Mayor Eric Adams should house asylum seekers at Gracie Mansion after the mayor himself floated the idea in June.
The protests have turned violent, with heated clashes between those who support asylum seekers and those who do not. Many people have been arrested, including Seliwa, which marks his 81st arrest.
Sliwa’s solution to the city’s immigrant problem: making use of Riker’s Island.
“There is a lot of space, there are empty buildings on the way in and out, and they stay there for six months. They are screened. They get their vaccinations. Then they can go and get jobs,” Saliwa said.
The counter-protesters want immigrants to be seen as people, no different from everyone else.
“We are all immigrants. Our ancestors, everyone comes from immigrant families and immigrant backgrounds. Immigrants are the ones who built this country,” said Ann Shirazi, a counter-protester.
Adams’ office issued a statement in response, saying in part:
“…New York City has been largely left on its own to deal with a national crisis that requires difficult decision-making. We have opened 206 locations, including 15 large-scale humanitarian relief centers, and are constantly looking for new places to provide asylum seekers with the shelter they require. But “Let’s be clear: the sites we are finding now are the only options left. This situation requires a broader national and international solution.”
Mayor Eric Adams’ office
A spokesman for the mayor said they have looked at more than 3,000 immigrant shelter sites and that all options – including Rikers – are on the table.