STATEN ISLAND - Tensions have reached a boiling point as Staten Island residents find themselves embroiled in a bitter dispute with the city over the relocation of asylum seekers to their neighborhood.
"Thank you very much Mayor Adams, you’re a real jerk," said Toni DeGennaro. "You should put them in your backyard. Go bring them to Gracie Mansion. We didn’t vote for this over here. We don’t want you here. Take them and get the hell outta here."
Residents and local Republican lawmakers have taken their objections to court. Initially, a Staten Island Judge ruled in their favor, saying Mayor Adams’ administration cannot use an old Catholic school building now owned by the City to house migrants.
However, the city fought back and a few hours later, a higher court judge reversed the lower court ruling, meaning the migrants can stay put.
Scott Herkert lives in the house right next door to what is now a new shelter.
"It’s a safety issue. You’re bringing people that we don’t know what their backgrounds are, where they’ve been, what they’ve done," Herkert said.
The Mayor’s office says less than two percent of the 59,000 asylum seekers the city is caring for are being sheltered on Staten Island.
Residents say they're not giving up the fight, however, and more protests and legal battles are planned.