Facing influx of asylum-seekers, New York City says it has reached its limit on migrants

May 11, 2023, 4:19 PM | Updated: 4:58 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — The end of a pandemic-era immigration restriction could send a new wave of asylum-seekers toward New York City — a place that has long prided itself on welcoming the world’s huddled masses. But as migrants gathered at the southern U.S. border, Mayor Eric Adams warned his city would be unable to accommodate the expected influx.

City officials expecting to receive busloads of migrants from Texas and other border states have explored housing the newcomers in airplane hangars, a race track, gymnasiums or even tents in Central Park. Others could wind up on the streets, advocates feared, despite the city’s court-ordered commitment to provide all residents with access to a place to stay.

Faced with what he described as a “humanitarian crisis,” Adams, a Democrat, has taken a series of steps aimed at easing pressure on the city’s overcrowded homeless shelter system.

On Wednesday evening, he temporarily suspended portions of New York’s longstanding law guaranteeing shelter to all residents. A few hours later, he sent roughly two dozen migrants on a bus to a hotel in the upstate town of Newburgh, overriding fierce backlash from local leaders.

Adams’ “decompression strategy” marks the latest escalation in the city’s ongoing struggle to handle tens of thousands of migrants, many of whom have arrived in the last year on buses sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.

Several other Democrat-leaning cities, including Chicago and Denver, have also grappled with a growing number of migrants and how to provide them with food, medicine and shelter without significant federal funding.

As the Biden administration prepared to lift a restriction on Thursday night known as Title 42, a COVID-era rule that allowed the government to quickly expel migrants back to Mexico, many expected the numbers to grow even higher.

Adams said New York City in recent weeks has been seeing 500 migrant arrivals per day. More than 61,000 have sought services from the city in the past 12 months. Once the rules change, “we could potentially get thousands of people a day in our city,” Adams said Thursday.

In recent days, officials have sought to coax nonprofits and business leaders to identify spaces to house migrants, while calling on municipal workers to help greet the asylum-seekers, according to people familiar with the effort.

The city has also turned to the real estate industry, including the owner of the Flatiron Building, who rebuffed requests to turn the iconic skyscraper into a shelter, the New York Times reported.

At a news conference Thursday, Manuel Castro, the commissioner for immigrant affairs, said the city “no longer can physically accommodate people that request emergency shelter.”

The admission intensified fears among some about the city’s ability to fulfill its right-to-shelter commitment, a court-ordered agreement that for decades has required the city to house anyone without a roof over their head. Under an executive order signed by Adams, the city no longer has to meet a strict deadline for providing that shelter.

The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless condemned the change, warning it could “force families with children to languish at the City’s intake facility for extended periods of time.”

The city has also faced pushback in its early efforts to escort migrants out of the city. In Rockland County, local officials successfully secured a temporary restraining order banning the city from sending migrants to a hotel.

After two dozen migrants arrived in a Newburgh hotel on Thursday, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, a Republican, blamed Adams for a “disorganized disaster,” vowing to secure his own restraining order.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said the city faced an “untenable situation.” But she said she also understood the stress faced by county executives and their decision to lash out at the buses.

“Our view is to continue working with the counties, but really focusing on continuing to support Mayor Adams because he’s receiving the brunt of most of this,” she said.

Ilze Thielmann, who leads a group that provides resources to newly-arrived migrants, said her team of volunteers had been preparing for the end of Title 42 for months. She wondered why it seemed other levels of government hadn’t done the same.

“In a city with this many buildings and this many human beings and this many empty hotels,” she said, “how can you say you’re out of space?”

United States News

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Chris Coons, D-Del. __ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Pre-empted by coverage of the French Open tennis tournament. __ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., a Republican presidential candidate; Gov. Chris Sununu, R-N.H.; former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. __ […]

16 hours ago

Sprinklers water a lawn at a home Thursday, June 8, 2023, in Las Vegas. Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo si...

Associated Press

Vegas water agency empowered to limit home water flows in future

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada has taken a dramatic, but not immediate, step toward limiting the amount of Colorado River water used in the most populous part of the nation’s most arid state, after lawmakers gave Las Vegas-area water managers the levers to limit flows to single-family homes. Gov. Joe Lombardo signed a law passed […]

16 hours ago

This image, contained in the indictment against former President Donald Trump, shows boxes of recor...

Associated Press

Trump indictment takeaways: Prosecutors detail schemes and lies to keep secret papers

MIAMI (AP) — The federal indictment against Donald Trump accuses the former president of illegally hoarding classified documents at his Florida estate after leaving the White House in 2021, and then scheming and lying to thwart government efforts to recover them. Justice Department prosecutors brought 37 felony counts against Trump in the indictment, relying upon […]

16 hours ago

Future graduate Evan Holmes wipes his eyes after delivering a speech at the first-ever college grad...

Associated Press

Yale, University of New Haven partnership celebrate first degrees awarded to inmates

SUFFIELD, Conn. (AP) — Marcus Harvin has two identification cards. One shows he is a fellow at Yale College, which is helping him on a track toward law school. The other shows he is a parolee, just released from the maximum security MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution after spending six years in prison for a highly publicized […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan State University will build memorial to victims of campus shooting

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University said it will use approximately $300,000 in donations to create a memorial to honor students who were killed or wounded in a mass shooting in February. The permanent memorial, to be “planned through a meaningful, respectful and collaborative process,” was disclosed Friday as the university announced what […]

16 hours ago

FILE - Beto O'Rourke, Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate, addresses supporters at a campaign ...

Associated Press

Texas court dismisses GOP donor’s defamation lawsuit against Beto O’Rourke

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas appeals court on Friday dismissed a billionaire’s defamation lawsuit against Democrat Beto O’Rouke that was brought after O’Rourke criticized a $1 million campaign contribution to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. The ruling by the Third Court of Appeals in Austin comes more than a year after O’Rourke repeatedly made critical […]

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...

Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.

Facing influx of asylum-seekers, New York City says it has reached its limit on migrants