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Weary Migrants Stay in Elementary School Gyms as Angry Parents Protest Outside

Parents and students protest the city choosing to house asylum-seekers at a gym inside P.S. 17 in Williamsburg, May 16, 2023. Gwynne Hogan/THE CITY

By Gwynne Hogan, THE CITY.NYC
“This story was originally published on May 16, 2023, by THE CITY.

As angry parents protested outside of elementary schools across Brooklyn on Tuesday, worn-out asylum seekers the Adams administration had suddenly placed in those same school gyms remained inside — and out of sight.
Albeidys Almera, a 21-year-old Venezuelan asylum seeker, told THE CITY that she hadn’t bathed in five days. She and her partner traveled by bus from El Paso to Denver and then from Denver to New York City, thousands of miles, before arriving at Port Authority over the weekend. From there, they were sent on buses to a school gym at P.S. 188 in Coney Island.
Mobile showers that officials had said might arrive on Tuesday were not on site by the afternoon, meaning it had been five days since Almera had bathed. But still, as she walked outside shortly after protesters had dispersed on Tuesday afternoon, she said that she was grateful for the roof over her head — and remained optimistic about what life in this country might bring.
“We’re looking for a better future,” she said in Spanish. “We want to work, that’s the first thing.”