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Vilda Vera Mayuga petitions against NYC migrant shelters on Randall’s Island fields

Whose side are you on?

One of Mayor Eric Adams’ own commissioners has circulated a petition calling on the Big Apple to backtrack on plans to erect a migrant mega shelter on Randall’s Island’s kiddie soccer fields.

Vilda Vera Mayuga, the city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection chief, sent out an email blast to West Side Soccer League parents this week urging them to oppose Adams’ latest push to house asylum seekers on sports fields.

“We understand that as a City, we’re dealing with an unprecedented number of arrivals and that we are struggling to meet the needs of these individuals,” Mayuga’s email, first reported on by The City, reads.

“However, it simply cannot be at the expense of our youth, and the NYC government must make responsible decisions.”

Mayuga, whose children are part of the league, also serves as WSSL’s commissioner — a volunteer role that’s entirely separate from her top city job.


Vilda Vera Mayuga circulated a petition calling on the Big Apple to backtrack on plans to erect a migrant mega shelter on Randall’s Island’s kiddie soccer fields.
William Farrington

The email, which included a link to the Change.org petition, was sent out from Mayuga’s WSSL email account.

The petition was circulating as Mayuga’s own DCWP department tweeted out a video Thursday that promoted the mayor’s vow to support and find migrants shelter in the Big Apple.

“New York City will continue to do more than any other city or level of government in the nation to accommodate asylum seekers,” Adams said in the video.

“Because that’s who we are: A city of empathy, of compassion and care.”

Mayuga, however, quickly appeared to distance herself from the drama of going against the mayor’s migrant messaging, insisting to The Post in a Friday statement that she only sent out the email on behalf of the league’s board.


The Randall's Island shelter
Construction workers started erecting the new makeshift migrant shelter on Randall’s Island this week.
Stephen Yang

“In my personal capacity as commissioner of my children’s soccer league, I recently sent an email on behalf of the board of the league that represented its collective decision — a decision that I had removed myself from completely about a petition that I did not sign,” Mayuga said.

“Anyone who knows me or my work knows the passion I bring to supporting and advocating for immigrants and it breaks my heart that, with an email, I sent a very different message.

“And worse, I have potentially distracted anyone from the great work of my amazing agency or the City’s heroic efforts to help our newest neighbors. Immigrants are what makes this city great and I both applaud and fully support our administration’s plan to connect asylum seekers to shelter and build lives here.”

Asked for comment about the email, City Hall pointed Mayuga to respond with her own statement.

The petition, which had garnered just over 750 signatures as of Friday, was created Aug. 5 after it emerged the Adams administration was eyeing the heavily used kiddie soccer fields on Randall’s Island for migrant housing.

Then, officials and sources confirmed Monday that the city’s latest makeshift mega shelter — catering for 2,000 migrant men — would be constructed on the Randall’s Island sporting fields 82, 83, 84 and 85.


The Randall's Island shelter
The city’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection chief said that sheltering for migrants “simply cannot be at the expense of our youth.”
Stephen Yang

Hizzoner said the state would be “covering the costs” of the shelter’s construction, maintenance and staffing.

The city had erected a migrant shelter on the island last October — only to shut it down within a matter of weeks because of a reported lack of use, given its relatively isolated location.

Opponents of the plan have raged it will only harm kids, particularly those from working-class families.

“Wealthy kids on fancy travel teams will play elsewhere,” City council minority leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) tweeted.

“Poor & middle class kids will lose the 4 fields where they now play & once got to learn the life skills &cooperative lessons we all know sports instills in youth. All because we continue to house migrants without any plan to stop. What a shame. Will anyone try denying this is precisely what will happen here?”


The Randall's Island shelter
The mass shelter will cater to 2,000 migrant men.
Stephen Yang

Meanwhile, the soccer league argued erecting a shelter on the fields flies in the face of the push to build up sports among young New Yorkers.

“In addition to helping children maintain healthy lifestyles and learn important life skills, our programs also keep teens engaged in positive activities with coaches, mentors, and role models,” the WSSL petition argued.

“In the midst of continued economic challenges, gun violence, and lack of sufficient programming for our youth, we continue to be extremely important in supporting the health and well-being of the next generation.

“However, for our programs to exist, we rely on fields and facilities operated by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Without access to these fields, youth sports organizations will be unable to offer programming, leaving a devastating hole in the lives of tens of thousands of children and teens.”

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