Mayor Adams to limit shelter stays for migrant families

Eric Adams
New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Seth Wenig/AP)

Mayor Adams to limit shelter stays for migrant families

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(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams says he plans to limit stays by migrant families in emergency shelters to 60 days amid an ongoing surge of asylum-seekers.

Adams says the city will begin sending 60-day notices to migrant families with children in city shelters to find alternative housing. He said the city will provide ongoing social services to help migrant families find new shelter. The city already limits single adult migrants to 30 days in emergency housing.

“With over 64,100 asylum seekers still in the city’s care, and thousands more migrants arriving every week, expanding this policy to all asylum seekers in our care is the only way to help migrants take the next steps on their journeys,” Adams said in a statement.

The move comes as New York grapples with more than 120,000 migrants who’ve arrived in the city over the past year amid a surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border.

New York is the only major U.S. city that has a right-to-shelter law. Adams is asking a state judge to temporarily suspend the requirement amid the surge of migrants, but the effort is being challenged in court.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat, has thrown her support behind the effort to temporarily suspend the law.

New York City officials also want the shelter rules to be suspended whenever the governor or mayor declares a state of emergency and there is an influx of people seeking shelter.

In July, the Adams administration moved to limit homeless shelter stays for single adult asylum-seekers to 60 days to create more space for migrant families with children. In September, the city’s adult shelter limit was reduced to 30 days.

New York City alone has spent more than $1 billion so far housing migrants, and Adams said the cost could rise to $12 billion in coming years without more money and resources from the state and federal governments.

Republicans have long argued that New York City’s right-to-shelter law and other “sanctuary” policies are encouraging migrants who enter the country illegally to travel to the Empire State.

Adams recently returned from a four-day trip through Latin America, where he sought to discourage migrants from coming to New York by telling them the city’s shelter system is at capacity. But critics say the high-profile sojourn did little to dissuade more asylum-seekers from making the long journey to New York.

Adam’s move to further limit shelter stays was criticized by advocates, including the New York Immigration Coalition, which said it would put asylum-seeking families with children “out of the street.”

“It adds unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, which some families will be unable to navigate,” Murad Awawdeh, the coalition’s executive director, said in a statement. “This will result in families and children ending up on the street in the middle of winter, and school attendance being interrupted.”

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