NEW YORK (NewsNation) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced tighter restrictions limiting adult migrants to only 30 days in city-run facilities to help ease pressures on the city’s already strained shelter system.
However, the move was immediately criticized by advocates for migrants and homeless people as unnecessary and heartless.
“Pushing new arrivals who have nowhere else to turn out of the shelters risks dramatically increasing the number of people bedding down on the streets, something nobody wants to see happen,” The New York Coalition for the Homeless and the Legal Aid Society said in a statement responding to that decision.
The city estimates that 10,000 new migrants are arriving every month. With a population of 60,000 migrants and asylum seekers currently residing in 200 city-run shelters, city officials assert that the shelter system has far exceeded its capacity.
In July, Adams announced a 60-day limit on shelter stays for single adults, which critics say would violate a court ruling that mandates the city provide shelter to anyone who asks for it.
Over the past two months, the city said, 60-day notices had been issued to about 13,000 adult migrants. The first round of evictions was scheduled for Sept. 23.
“As an administration, we’re a year and a half into this crisis really needing to take a step back and think long term what does this look like. It’s not abating any time soon,” city officials said at a city council public hearing in August.
Under the “Right to Shelter” laws, the city has to provide shelter to anyone who needs it. Migrants who are evicted can reapply to stay at a new shelter.
“I believe they did not come all these thousands of miles to live in a shelter with hundreds if not thousands of others,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Hochul deployed 150 more National Guard members personnel tasked with helping with the influx of migrants seeking refuge in the state, adding to the 1,900 already on site.
Last week, the Biden administration granted “temporary protected status” to nearly 500,000 Venezuelan migrants across the country who arrived before July 31. With the TPS, Venezuelan migrants will be able to work and live legally in the U.S. for 18 months.
The goal is for migrants to earn enough money to leave the shelter system.
As it currently stands, the migrant crisis has cost New York City $2 billion and that cost could increase to $5 billion next year.
The Legal Aid Society will return to court on Tuesday to ask a judge to uphold Right to Shelter laws.
Adams has sought to ease some of the restrictions, stating the city doesn’t have enough space to ensure everyone will be placed in a shelter if they ask for one.
The city said it has opened 210 emergency shelters, including 17 of what it called “large-scale humanitarian relief centers.” And it is looking for more space, including erecting additional tents to house cots for migrants who need a place to sleep.