In Staten Island, a former Catholic girls school called St. John Villa Academy has become a flashpoint of resistance to the overwhelming migrant crisis.
Many residents in this working-class neighborhood are involved in around-the-clock vigils to stop the school from being filled with 300 migrants.
St. John Villa may be closed, but two other Catholic schools, and a school for handicapped students, are close by.
Staten Island at this moment feels targeted by City Hall.
Within miles of this site, the Adams administration wants to put migrants at Fort Wadsworth, the oldest active military base in the nation, the Staten Island New York State Armory and the Island Shores Senior Citizen Home in Midland Beach, where seniors were told months ago that they are being evicted to make room for migrants.
To add insult to injury, on Thursday, Aug. 24, Timothy Cardinal Dolan chastised the residents for protesting against the migrant shelter.
This is a borough that boasts of the number of its residents who have graduated from Catholic schools. It is also a borough that, per capita, has had the most Catholic schools closed by Dolan and the archdiocese.
In the midst of the summer of 2020, when police officers were being attacked in the streets, Staten Island established Blue Lives Matter, where citizens came out to show solidarity with the police, who were being vilified every day.
This is a blue-collar working class island that has always come out for the patriotic holidays.
Staten Island has the longest-running Fourth of July parade in the nation, and has the biggest turn out for their Memorial Day parade.
The island also hosts some of the largest Veterans Day parades, honoring those who have served in all branches of our military.
Many may not know that Staten Island is the most balanced of the boroughs. There are 122,000 registered Democrats and 96,000 registered Republicans.
And both Democrats and Republicans are outraged over Mayor Adams’ targeting of various sites for migrants throughout the residential island.
In a borough that has a population of only 500,000 people, placing migrants at this school was the flashpoint for Staten Island’s rage.
Just two months before, both City Hall and elected officials assured residents that St. John Villa Academy was not in consideration to house migrants.
Feeling betrayed by their elected officials, local residents immediately and organically came out in the masses to protest the migrant shelter.
This past Friday, outraged residents experienced a thrill of victory in court, which issued a temporary restraining order against the migrants, forcing them to be placed elsewhere.
Then five hours later, Staten Island residents experienced the agony of defeat, as an appellate court judge in Brooklyn overruled the decision to move the migrants.
You can imagine the outrage from citizens, as a Brooklyn appellate court judge overruled the wishes of the residents who live and pay taxes around St. John Villa Academy.
Never forget, Staten Island is a borough where people’s parents and grandparents were immigrants. They support legal immigration, the same process that brought their families to the United States.
They are not in favor of this new “Easy Pass” system that keeps many of their family and friends still waiting in other countries, because they’re coming in the long way, but the right way.
Curtis Sliwa was the Republican nominee for mayor in 2021.