Curtis Sliwa arrested after blocking road during protest outside of Creedmoor migrant tent facility

Curtis Sliwa, along with several local activists and residents, was arrested after blocking the road while protesting outside of the Creedmoor migrant tent facility in Queens Village on Wednesday, Aug. 16.
Photo by Carlotta Mohamed

Curtis Sliwa, along with several local activists and residents, was arrested after blocking the road while protesting outside of the Creedmoor migrant tent facility in Queens Village on Wednesday night.

Photo by Carlotta Mohamed

The group made their way across the street to the facility where they stood for a brief moment chanting “No tent city!” As they marched to the middle of the road disrupting traffic, police officers warned the protestors to immediately move to the sidewalk or they would be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

After refusing to leave the roadway, Sliwa’s hands were bound with a ziptie and he was led to a prisoner transport vehicle. During the rally, Sliwa, who is the founder of the Guardian Angels, announced that he would partake in a non-violent civil disobedience demonstration. 

“This is the New York state psychiatric facility for residents of New York, for American citizens who need to be healed,” Silwa said. “Make use of Creedmoor for what it was built to do — to help people with mental health care issues, not house illegal aliens.” 

The Creedmoor Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center (HERRC) opened on Tuesday, one day ahead of schedule. The facility, which locals have dubbed “Tent City,” is expected to house some 1,000 single males.

As a busload of migrants arrived at Creedmoor Wednesday afternoon, some demonstrators held up their signs and began chanting “USA.” The rally was organized by leaders of several civic associations, who say they are “the voices of the community” opposing the migrant shelter. 

Photo by Carlotta Mohamed

“This is not a racist thing. If you put 1,000 people, men from anywhere in our own country into these tents in our community, we would be equally upset,” said Arlene Schlesinger, of the Hollis Hills Civic Association. “Whether or not it’s a migrant, it’s 1,000 single men. We will not go quietly into the night. We will continue as long as it takes.” 

Rosemary Parker, first vice president of the Creedmoor Civic Association, said they sympathize with the migrants who have fled their countries due to gang violence and oppression, but said housing them at Creedmoor isn’t the right move. 

“We are right next door to SNAP, where we have a lot of vulnerable older adults, and there’s a deli and we’re right across from P.S. 18,” Parker said. “Many of the children walk along here when school is out. This is not the right place for them. The encampment will cause a lot of problems and I hope it is disbanded as quickly as it went up.” 

Other civic leaders echoed those sentiments citing the lack of transportation, decrease in property value, public safety and security. They reiterated that they want the U.S. Southern border secured but open for legal immigration. 

“Look around, need I remind you that many of us are immigrants – immigrants that waited in line to come here through a legal process,” said Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village. “Creedmoor has a well documented history of patients wandering around with serious substance abuse problems and aggressively panhandling and intimidating local shoppers on a daily basis, and now the mayor is adding 1,000 unvetted single adult males to the mix.” 

Photo by Carlotta Mohamed

Last week, tensions flared during dueling rallies held outside the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, as the angry protesters who expressed their opposition to the city’s plan to house migrants at the site outnumbered a small group of pro-migrant supporters. Another rally was held on Sunday, Aug. 13. 

Recently, Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city has provided shelter and care for more than 101,200 asylum seekers that have arrived in the five boroughs since April 2022. Adams is calling on the federal government for support saying it is a “national crisis that demands solutions that extend beyond our city, and New York City cannot continue to manage largely on our own.”