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Judge orders NYC to vacate illegal immigrants from former Staten Island school

"[I]f there were a right to shelter embedded in the State Constitution, all county and local municipalities upstate would be compelled to provide shelter to any and all migrant asylum seekers within their borders," he wrote.

Published: September 26, 2023 4:06pm

A Staten Island judge on Tuesday ordered that immigrants be removed from a former school that had been used as a shelter, siding with Republicans who had challenged the housing effort.

New York City is currently struggling to address an influx of illegal immigrants, who have flocked to the sanctuary city and overwhelmed its housing capacity. More than 110,000 illegals have arrived in the Big Apple in the past year, of which about 13,000 arrived due to an effort by Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to bus illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities amid a broader surge in border crossings.

At issue in the case is New York City's use of the St. John Villa Academy building as a temporary migrant shelter and has moved hundreds of people into the building. Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Wayne Ozzi ordered the removal of the illegals housed in there, asserting that a "right to shelter" likely does not exist in the state constitution, Fox News reported.

"[I]f there were a right to shelter embedded in the State Constitution, all county and local municipalities upstate would be compelled to provide shelter to any and all migrant asylum seekers within their borders," he wrote. "Obviously they have not. A right to shelter, if it exists, would apply statewide, not just in New York City." 

Ozzi's order comes as the city has moved to suspend a Manhattan "right to shelter" mandate that stems from 1981 court order requiring the city to provide temporary housing to anyone upon request. New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has backed Mayor Eric Adams' efforts to suspend the mandate.

The ruling is a blow to the Adams administration, which has explored a litany of ways to house the new arrivals. He previously attempted to bus incoming migrants into upstate communities, though that plan received intense pushback from local governments and was met with legal challenges.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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