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New York City Struggles to House Influx of Migrants

New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently warned that the city could be “destroyed” if it doesn’t get more help to support an influx of migrants, and is now starting to turn some asylum-seekers out of shelter, Vox reports. “Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this,” the mayor said at a town hall earlier this month. Since April 2022, more than 116,000 migrants have arrived in New York City. Most came from the US-Mexico border, fleeing hardship in their home countries and seeking asylum, a form of protection that would allow them to remain in the United States and not be deported. Many are not yet eligible to work in the United States due to asylum rules, which require migrants to wait about six months for a work permit. More than 60,000 of them remain in the city’s shelter system, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. If migration continues at its current pace, the city is on track to spend $12 billion over the next three fiscal years to shelter and support immigrants. Adams says New York City has stretched itself to the limit and is demanding greater help from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Biden administration.

Earlier this year, Adams asked a judge to temporarily relieve the city of the legal obligation to shelter migrants, since its shelter system is overwhelmed, a request now before a court. In the meantime, the city’s shelter system has reached a breaking point. In July, the city began issuing 60-day eviction notices to adult migrants in its shelters, which began to go into effect over the weekend, though those who fail to secure their own housing have been told to return to the Roosevelt Hotel to apply for other housing assistance. About 13,000 notices have been distributed so far, according to the mayor’s office. Adams also announced that the maximum stay going forward for adult migrants in city-run shelters will be halved, to just 30 days. According to the city, migrants make up more than half of the city’s shelter population, and the population of shelters overall has doubled since Adams took office in January 2022. As shelters reach capacity, New York City is housing migrants in hotels, once-vacant office buildings, school gyms, and emergency shelters on Randall’s Island. Adams has also looked into temporarily housing migrants in parking lots, in tents in Central Park and Prospect Park, and even on cruise ships. “The mayor isn’t wrong to say the feds and state should do more, but the best way to get help from [the state and federal government] is to exhaust your own ability and there’s no way Adams is at that point yet, despite what he has said," Christine Quinn, president, and CEO of Win, a provider of shelter for homeless families in New York City that has housed hundreds of migrant families said.


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