The Biden administration has indicated that a potential answer to New York City’s growing migrant challenge is to abolish its right-to-shelter policy. Past interactions between city and state officials and business leaders in talks with the White House have shown this idea is in talks.
Speaking to NBC New York, some sources said that the Biden administration’s potential aid package for the city might have been more extensive had there not been reservations surrounding the city’s right-to-shelter policy.
According to them, the policy might be seen as an everlasting beacon, luring migrants to the city in perpetuity. One state official said, “That’s why they’re reluctant.”
Comparative figures bring the situation into sharper focus: while cities like Los Angeles and Denver have a migrant count only in the thousands, New York City is grappling with an overwhelming number, nearing 60,000.
The White House has previously denied that concerns about the right-to-shelter policy have impacted the federal aid given to New York City in any way.
In a statement, White House spokesperson Seth Schuster stated, “Any assertion that the Administration will not help the city or state of New York unless the right to shelter law is repealed or modified is patently inaccurate and ignores the whole-of-government efforts currently helping the city and state.”
“The Federal government has provided the City and State of New York more than $140 million in federal funding this Fiscal Year and we have requested an additional $600 million for the Shelter and Services Program in our Supplemental request. We continue to call on Congress to fulfill that request and provide communities across the country the support they need,” Schuster added.
As discussions continue regarding a possible revisitation of the decades-old right-to-shelter settlement, Mayor Eric Adams is advocating for greater adaptability in addressing the crisis.
The city proposed several solutions, including potentially declaring a state of emergency to secure more funds. However, federal authorities responded by noting that such declarations are generally reserved for natural disasters.
Governor Katy Hochul’s proposition of bestowing Temporary Protected Status to expedite migrant work permits has also met with cautionary notes.
Federal representatives contend that such a process may not necessarily accelerate matters since asylum seekers still need to adhere to existing protocols.
President Biden’s forthcoming visit to New York is now under a magnifying glass, particularly with major donors expressing frustration over the administration’s handling of the migrant situation.
Their grievances are impacting fundraising campaigns, resulting in reduced financial contributions.
A prominent New York public relations executive representing several wealthy Democratic donors voiced this sentiment, saying, “This is a real thing. It is a criticism the president should be ready to hear and be ready with an answer when he comes to New York.”
Amid these challenges, the Biden administration is undertaking measures to alleviate the situation, notably by sending 50 staffers to the city to aid in asylum application processes.