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Atlantic County leaders to voice concerns over migrant plan for Atlantic City airport

  • News

Local leaders will join together Friday to voice concerns over federal government proposal to relocate thousands of asylum-seekers from New York City to the local airport.

Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township is one of 11 federally owned facilities the U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified in a letter to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the county government confirmed in announcing the news conference.

The Biden administration offered the airport along with a tax office on Long Island and Massena International Airport, 365 miles from New York City, to house some of the 60,000 asylum-seekers, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson will be joined by state legislators, county commissioners and mayors from throughout the county, to voice their concerns and opposition to the proposal, a news release said.

State Sen. Vince Polistina said he will be in attendance.

He sent out a message to President Biden and New York City's mayor on Wednesday.

"Hell no," he said in a statement. "Atlantic County residents shouldn’t be forced to pay the price for the Biden Administration’s disastrous handling of our border and the outrageous ‘Sanctuary’ state and city policies of Democrats in Washington, New York, Trenton and across the country.”

He called on the governor and U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez to oppose "this attempt to dump unvetted migrants at Atlantic City Airport, and spreading a humanitarian crisis they created to our backyard.”

Congressman Jeff Van Drew sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Biden.

"It is inappropriate and unreasonable to expect South Jersey to bear the consequences of policy choices we did not make nor want," Van Drew said. "In my letter sent to Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden, I formally requested that the Atlantic City Airport and any other federally owned facilities in our jurisdiction be removed from consideration for this ill-advised initiative. South Jersey will not serve as a dumping ground for illegal migrants, forced to bear the costs of housing thousands due to this administration's non-existent border policies."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued an emergency order Monday about "the unprecedented humanitarian crisis that requires it to take extraordinary measures to meet the immediate needs of the asylum seekers" who have been coming into the city by thousands over the past several months.

Adams was joined by other city leaders Thursday to call for expedited work visas for those migrants. No mention was made of the reported letter from the Biden administration or the 11 facilities it is supposed to have mentioned.

Instead, he spoke of the message he received from those seeking asylum when he met with them.

They were clear: "We don't want your free food. We don't want your free bedding. We don't want your healthcare. We just want to work. We want to have the opportunity to do what everyone else had the opportunity to do."

The Atlantic County press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at the Fireman’s Memorial Plaza between the Atlantic County Office Building and Atlantic City City Hall at Tennessee Avenue and Bacharach Boulevard.


Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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