Published: Sept 27th, 2022, 12:58pm

By Paul Liotta |

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — In the midst of New York City’s ongoing migrant crisis, 56 people have sought refuge on Staten Island, according to Staten Island elected officials who want answers about the budgetary impact.

Borough President Vito Fossella, City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-South Shore), City Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks (D-North Shore), and City Councilman David Carr (R-Mid-Island) sent a letter to Independent Budget Office Acting Director George Sweeting highlighting their concerns about the influx of migrants from the nation’s southern border, many of whom have been identified as asylum seekers.

“Recently, in our hometown of Staten Island, we have learned that over 50 individuals have sought shelter here,” the group wrote. “Our borough residents are entitled to know how the city plans to pay for the health care, schooling and other essential services of these individuals. While today it’s 50, tomorrow it could be 500, and perhaps thousands in the months ahead.”

Since May, more than 11,000 asylum seekers have sought refuge in the city’s homeless shelters putting an additional strain on the city’s burdened system, Mayor Adams said last week.

A spokesperson for Fossella’s office said the exact number of asylum seekers on the Island was 56 as of Sept. 21, and that Borough Hall received the information from Adams’ office. The spokesperson could not say exactly where the migrants were being sheltered.

Spokespersons for the mayor’s office and the city Department of Social Services, which oversees the city’s shelter system, did not answer a request for comment by the time of publication.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Budget Office, a non-partisan entity established in the City Charter, said Monday they’d received the elected officials’ letter, and that they were working on a response.

The borough president’s office met with the Independent Budget Office Tuesday morning about the inquiry, but budget numbers were not yet available, according to a spokesperson for the borough president.

In their letter, four Staten Island officials pointed to what Adams and Comptroller Brad Lander have described as a looming budget shortfalls at the state and city level.

“This comes at a time when City Hall has ordered cuts to agency budgets, which obviously will have a negative impact on the delivery of services. In addition, there are some who predict a possible recession,” the group wrote. “Common sense dictates that we must identify the costs associated with handling this influx [of migrants].”

They also said they want to see state officials declare a state of emergency related to the influx of migrants in order to qualify for federal funding.

On Thursday, Adams’ office announced the opening of “Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers” to help house the people coming to the city as required by the city’s right to shelter.

A 1979 lawsuit and subsequent legal action established New York City as one of three U.S. municipalities that has a “right to shelter” for all homeless people, according to the Coalition for the Homeless.

The first relief center opened near Orchard Beach in the Bronx and another will be opened at a location yet to be determined, Adams’ office announced last week.

Asylum seekers bused into the city from southern states like Texas and Florida will be diverted to the relief centers, Adams said last week.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbot have taken credit for sending buses and planes of migrants to northern states saying sanctuary states and cities should have to deal with the burdens faced by border communities.

The city’s sanctuary policies, which limit cooperation with the federal government as it pertains to illegal immigrants, have been in place since Mayor Ed Koch. Adams said last week that the city will continue to fulfill its humanitarian obligations and help the people who arrive in the five boroughs.

On Tuesday, Adams said the city looked at 50 locations around the city before selecting the Orchard Beach site, and said that the relief centers would not be a long-term solution.

“This is a humanitarian, refugee, migrant crisis…so we’re going to pivot and shift as needed,” the mayor said during a press conference. “We want to make sure that we bring people into a safe, clean environment as we process them for a few days to figure out their needs and move them to the right location.”