A desperate migrant mom said she was reduced to begging on Staten Island because her girls can’t stomach the food being served at the hotel where the city put them after they arrived in the Big Apple on a bus from Texas.
In a heartbreaking scene Monday, Catherine Cruz flagged down an SUV passing through a parking lot near Victory Boulevard and held her 1-year-old baby, Scarlet Caiza, up to the driver’s-side window as she gestured with her hand toward her mouth.
Cruz said her other daughter — Lady Cruz, 7 — hadn’t eaten anything since the family arrived at a nearby hotel three days earlier because the only food available there was cereal and pizza.
“My daughter doesn’t eat that food. She eats rice and soup. Her belly hurts,” the mom said in Spanish.
Cruz, who’s from Quito, Ecuador, said she breastfeeds her younger child.
“We don’t know how long we are staying. The gentlemen who have us in the shelters don’t tell us anything,” she said.
City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) blamed the situation on both President Biden and Mayor Eric Adams, who last week declared a state of emergency over the ongoing influx of migrants.
“Only a fundamentally flawed federal policy could net this tragic result, and we warned the city that there are no resources whatsoever in this neighborhood for this population,” Borelli said.
On Thursday, City Hall estimated that 17,400 migrants had arrived since May and Adams said Monday that another 1,800 showed up this past weekend.
City workers dropped off 96 migrant families at a property that houses three hotels on Wild Avenue in the Travis neighborhood on the night of Oct. 2, a source briefed on the matter told The Post.
A tent was set up one day last week so the migrants there could get healthcare, the source said.
Additional migrants were expected to arrive Monday night, the source said.
On Sunday, The Post revealed that some of the migrants — many ill-equipped for the city’s colder climate — have been wandering around the neighborhood and knocking on doors to seek food, clothing and work.
At the El Pollo II Spanish restaurant on Victory Boulevard, a worker said migrants “come in every day.”
“They ask for mostly food or they ask the people that are sitting here to buy them food,” the worker said.
“Sometimes, my manager gives them food when they have kids.”
A longtime neighborhood resident blamed Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, saying, “The city just dumped these people in our lap with no plan.”
“If the city wants to call itself a ‘sanctuary city,’ it should also have a plan to make them feel like human beings,” the resident added.
On Facebook, the president of the Travis Civic Association, Gene Guerra Sr., posted a message from the district manager of Community Board 2, who passed along a request from the city Department of Social Services for residents to stop calling about the situation.
“So I am asking you now to refrain from making these calls, even though it is well within your rights to do so,” district manager Debra Derrico wrote.
Guerra said Monday of the migrants, “We are sympathetic to their needs.”
“I feel bad for them but on the other hand I have to feel bad for the residents of Travis,” he said.
“These houses aren’t cheap. As much as we sympathize with their needs and why they left, we didn’t sign up for this and there are other, better areas in the city where they could be placed.”
US Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn) said, “There’s no real plan to deal with this influx of individuals or how they are going to protect the quality of life for the residents of Staten Island.”
“Also how do they expect individuals without work authorization to survive without being able to provide for themselves?” she said.
“Either the taxpayer is going to have to do it or the mayor needs to talk to the president to fix this. He’s created a humanitarian crisis.”
In a statement, DSS denied that any migrants were going hungry.
“We ensure that we are providing adequate food provisions in compliance with NYC Food standards and basic necessities are being met,” a spokesperson said.