(NewsNation) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams asked a judge Tuesday night to suspend the city’s right-to-shelter laws for single adults, arguing that the mandates should be lifted during an emergency.
The city has dealt with an influx of migrants sent from border states who, under the law, the government is obligated to shelter. Thousands of migrants have arrived, many of them asylum seekers who cannot yet obtain work permits to support themselves.
In a letter, Adams asked a judge to lift the mandate, which exists as part of a 1981 consent decree. Adams also asked for the rule to be suspended when the mayor or governor declares a state of emergency and there is an influx of people seeking shelter.
Adams said New York City should not be held to a different standard from other cities in the state, and the legal obligation to provide housing should be lifted when the number of people seeking shelter grew by 50% in a given time period.
The consent decree came about after a lawsuit from the Legal Aid Society, which opposed the request on the grounds it would gut protections for longer-term New Yorkers as well as new arrivals.
The Adams administration has struggled to house the migrants arriving in the city and faced stiff opposition from residents who objected to proposed shelters, especially those that would make use of community resources like schools.
On Wednesday, Adams is set to leave for a trip to Latin America, where he seeks to discourage migrants from traveling to New York City. He has repeatedly called on the Biden administration to provide more help to cities facing a significant influx of asylum seekers, along with asking other localities to share the burden of providing housing.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has also spoken out on the migrant issue, recently calling the border “too open” and blaming Congress for not taking action on immigration reform.