NYC sets up task force to get migrant children selling snacks on streets and subways into school

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NEW YORK — It’s a heartbreaking and common sight in New York City: Children selling snacks on the streets and subways instead of spending their days at school.

A concerned lawmaker doesn’t want a busy thoroughfare in the southwest part of Queens to become a boulevard of death for migrant children put on the street to sell food and drink.

“It’s 100% the safety of these kids. I’ve seen these children… they’re young. They’re 5, they’re 6… they’re getting bored, so they’re making makeshift slides and using a 2 by 4 to slide directly into Woodhaven Boulevard,” City Councilwoman Joann Ariola said.

Ariola has been trying for well over a year to get the city to do something about the hordes of migrant children of all ages sent into the subways, or on busy street corners, to sell candy and food — instead of going to school.

“Their truancy is not being addressed. There’s also the question of where are they getting the items to sell,” Ariola said. “When they’re asked, they say that someone comes from far away to give it to us. So they’re also being exploited by people who are using them to sell their goods on the street.”

Mayor Eric Adams has now appointed a multi-agency task force to go into shelters to convince parents to send their kids to school.

“I saw that in Ecuador. I saw that in Mexico. I saw that in Colombia. So sometimes people bring their culture, and how practices are done, into the city, and we want to make sure that people understand that children should be in school,” Adams said.

New York City has been so generous to the asylum seekers there’s no need for their kids to work, Ariola said.

“They’re receiving debit cards now. They have lodging. They have free call centers,” she said. “They have free medical care. They’re getting free education. There is no need for migrants to become part of the problem of illegal street vending.”

The Adams administration says it will also make sure parents know about safe afterschool programs and child care referrals. 

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