New York City mayor: 'no room' for migrants

New York Mayor Eric Adams on Jan. 15 traveled to the US-Mexico border and declared that "there is no room" for migrants in his city. At a press conference with El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, Adams called on the US government to help cities manage unprecedented levels of immigration, and claimed that the influx of migrants could cost New York City up to $2 billion. "The federal government should pick up the entire cost," Adams said. "[W]e need a real leadership moment from FEMA. This is a national crisis." He also criticized the governors of Texas and Colorado for contributing to a "humanitarian crisis that was created by man," citing busloads of migrants sent to New York and other northern cities.

But New York City comptroller Brad Lander dissented from Adams' Texas trip, stating that it "reinforces a harmful narrative that new migrants themselves are a problem."

In early January, President Joe Biden introduced reforms to border security, allowing authorities to turn away asylum-seekers who try to enter the country illegally, while also expanding legal pathways for asylum-seekers. The US will now accept 30,000 migrants per month from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba and Nicaragua and allow them to work legally. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk nonetheless criticized Biden's approach, stating that the right to seek asylum "is a human right, no matter a person's origin, immigration status, nor how they arrived at an international border."

Pew Research reports that over 205,000 migrants crossed the US border in November 2022. The historical peak of border crossings was 220,063 in March 2000.

From Jurist, Jan. 16. Used with permission.

See our last reports on Biden's new border policy, and the response in New York City.

Asylum-seekers in Midtown Manhattan standoff

A group of asylum-seekers in Midtown Manhattan refused to board buses heading to a "pop up shelter" inside Brooklyn's Cruise Terminal Jan. 30, calling it "inhumane." The standoff began the previous afternoon, when migrants began returning to the Watson Hotel in Midtown, dismayed by conditions they encountered at the 1,000-bed facility in Brooklyn's Red Hook. Several dozen migrants who were denied re-entry into the Watson slept outside the hotel that night. They stayed in tents set up under scaffolding by activists with NYC ICE Watch and South Bronx Mutual Aid, among other local groups. (Gothamist)

NYC: Mayor Adams orders exceptions to 'right-to-shelter' law

Mayor Eric Adams issued an executive order May 10 city officials to bypass certain portions of New York City's decades old right-to-shelter law, which obligates the city to provide a bed to anyone who asks for one.

The executive order suspends certain minimum shelter requirements, including a rule which requires those seeking shelter to receive a bed within a certain time frame. It would also allow the city to avoid fulfilling a requirement that families have units with access to a bathroom, refrigerator and kitchen.

The suspension of portions of the landmark decree that paved the way for New York City’s modern shelter system takes effect immediately. It remains in effect for five days, unless the city renews it.

Adams' executive order comes on the eve of the expiration of Title 42, a pandemic-era border policy that limited new arrivals from coming into the country. Since last spring, more than 61,000 migrants and asylum seekers have come to New York City, with around 37,500 residing in city shelters and emergency housing. (Gothamist)

NYC to send asylum-seekers to Rikers Island jail?

New York City officials are considering having asylum-seekers housed in a jail on Rikers Island. The Otis Bantum Correctional Center, a 1,700-bed jail closed last year over staffing shortages, is among sites being considered as a shelter for incoming migrants, the Daily News reports. (Patch)

NYC Mayor Eric Adams files lawsuit against bus companies

New York City Mayor Eric Adams' administration filed a lawsuit against 17 bus companies on Jan. 4 for transporting 33,000 migrants from Texas. In the filing to the New York Supreme Court, Adams' administration accuses te companies of violating the New York Social Services Law as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to expel migrants who cross the US-Mexico border illegally. (Jurist)

NYC to impose curfew at migrant shelters

The Associated Press reports that New York City officials have announced an expanded overnight curfew at 20 migrant shelters throughout the city, following an increase in reports of criminal misconduct.

On Feb. 6, members of the Guardian Angels vigilante patrol mistakenly identified a local resident as a migrant, threw him to the ground, and beat him. "We gave him a little pain compliance," the group's leader, Curtis Sliwa, said, according to the New York Times. "His mother back in Venezuela felt the vibrations."

That act of violence, televised live on Fox News, came following reports that seven people were indicted "in connection with assault on NYPD officers outside migrant shelter" earlier in January.

The 11 PM to 6 AM curfew will impact some 3,600 migrants seeking shelter during the asylum and migration process, a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams told AP in an e-mailed statement.

The announcement follows similar restrictions placed on four other migrant shelters last week.

"[W]e have an overwhelming number, the 175,000 or so migrant and asylum seekers, who are trying to pursue the American dream. And we should not use a numerical minority who are showing criminal behavior and state that that is what the immigrants and asylum seekers are doing because asylum seekers there are here legally. They were paroled into the country," Adams said in an interview Feb. 11 with radio station PIX 11 before the expanded curfew was announced.

A recent rise of anti-immigrant sentiment led New York state Comptroller Brad Lander to release a fact sheet in January of 2024, highlighting common misconceptions that were driving a series of hostile interactions between xenophobic protestors and migrants taking shelter within the city's five boroughs. (Jurist)