(NewsNation) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams said that while the city has done a good job showing what cities can do for asylum seekers, NYC officials can’t continue to shoulder the course alone.
Adams made the remarks in his annual “State of the City” address Thursday, where he once again called on both the state and federal government to send help.
New York is a “sanctuary city,” meaning no asylum seekers can legally be turned away. It also has a “right to shelter” law in place, so it is required to provide housing for anyone coming to the city seeking asylum or dealing with homelessness. This law has been on the books since the 1970s.
According to the New York Post, the city’s right-to-shelter law is one of the strongest in the country and makes the government responsible for making a roof available “to anyone without a home” on a given night.
But when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey started sending migrants to sanctuary cities like New York last year, the city became overwhelmed.
Since last spring, the city has welcomed about 40,000 asylum seekers, Adams has previously said.
To accommodate the influx of migrants, the city has opened dozens of emergency shelters and relief centers. Earlier this month, the city reached a $275 million deal with the Hotel Association of New York City to provide housing for 5,000 migrants for the next six months.
But in a recent radio interview on WABC’s “Sid & Friends in the Morning” show, the mayor said the city may not be required to provide housing to migrants.
“The courts rule that this is a sanctuary city. We have a moral and legal obligation to fulfill that,” Adams said.
However, he added: “We don’t believe asylum seekers fall into the whole right to shelter conversation. This is a crisis that must be addressed based on what was created on this national platform.”
Critics of Adams, including the Legal Aid Society of New York, say he is trying to get around the city’s responsibility by using a potential legal loophole.
If the mayor does decide to stop providing housing or shelter for asylum seekers, it’s almost certain that lawsuits will be launched to reverse that action.