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NYC relaxes shelter rules to house more asylum seekers

Mayor Eric Adams signed an executive order that suspends portions of the city's right-to-shelter law.
NYC relaxes shelter rules to house more asylum seekers
Posted at 5:15 PM, May 12, 2023

Immigration issues are not just happening along the border. In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams took a dramatic move ahead of the expiration of Title 42.

The city temporarily suspended some of the rules related to its longstanding guarantee of shelter to asylum-seekers. Adams signed an executive order that suspends portions of the city's right-to-shelter law.

One of the parts of the law that is being suspended is that the city must provide private rooms to families with children, opening the door to placing families in congregate areas.

The move is already receiving backlash from local organizations.

"This was a difficult decision for me," Adams said.

There are concerns over an influx of asylum-seekers in New York City as Title 42 ends.

"Do you know last week? We got 4,200 people. We're getting an average of 500 people a day," Adams said. "We can potentially get thousands of people a day in our city. It's wrong for those who are coming here and it's wrong for New Yorkers who are here."

SEE MORE: After crossing border, migrants end up in blue states more than red

The city lifted rules that set a nightly deadline for the placement of newly arrived families in shelters, and a rule that states families must be housed in private rooms with bathrooms and kitchens, and not in communal spaces.

"That's just not realistic when you're getting 4,200 people in your city that you're going to a place with kitchen and a bathroom. Our desire is not to put children and families in dormitory settings. Our desire is to manage a humanitarian crisis," said Adams.

Advocates are saying the measures place children at risk of violence and sexual abuse.

"We have been very clear to NYC that families must be in proper accommodation as well as receiving proper shelter," said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director for the New York Immigration Coalition.

Venezuelan Mauro Izaguirre has been staying in a city-paid hotel room with his wife and two children for five months.

"Grateful because we have a roof over our heads, they help us a lot, they give us food," said Izaguirre.

SCRIPPS NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT AXEL TURCIOS: "Do you have any concerns that the help you're receiving could be stopped because more people will continue to arrive?"

IZAGUIRRE: "No, not really because it is also up to us to find a job. Just as we had this help, there are other people who also deserve it."

SEE MORE: NYC suspends some homeless shelter rules anticipating migrant surge

Mayor Adams is looking for new options to alleviate the stress on an already stretched shelter system, including sending some migrants to neighboring counties.

"We must be clear about what we're doing because some people tried to compare it to what Abbot did. We're paying for it, we're only taking volunteers, we're communicating with the officials up there on what we're doing," said Adams.

But the move is leading to a war of words between the mayor and county officials.

"I would think if the mayor is going to come up with a ridiculous plan like this which is not viable and not workable. he should have picked up a phone and contacted us and truly coordinated this," said Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

"The county exec, Day, this guy has a record of being antisemitic, racist comments, his thoughts and how he responded to this. Really? He shows a lack of leadership," Adams said.

Both Orange and Rockland counties have declared states of emergency.

In a defiant move, Adams sent two buses with about 40 to Orange County Thursday.

"It's a slap in the face to the thriving immigrant communities in their counties," said Awawdeh.

The executive order was signed late Wednesday and took effect immediately. It stays in effect for five days and Adams can modify it, meaning it can be renewed.

Advocates are saying they could challenge the mayor in court.

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