On Wednesday, May 10th, Mayor Eric Adams signed an executive order suspending certain aspects of New York City’s right-to-shelter law in preparation for the expiration of the United States’ Title 42 border policy. Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for Mayor Adams, said, “This is not a decision taken lightly and we will make every effort to get asylum seekers into shelter as quickly as possible as we have done since day one.”
Levy continued, “In an effort to mitigate those risks and find room within our shelter system, the city has temporarily suspended the policy surrounding for placements in shelters.”
The executive order signed by Mayor Adams suspends the city’s requirement to secure a bed for those seeking shelter within a certain time frame. It also suspends the requirement to secure a unit with access to a bathroom and kitchen for families seeking shelter.
Title 42, which was enacted in March 2020 by President Trump, expelled individuals from the U.S., particularly from the border, if they were coming from a country where the COVID-19 virus was present. Initially enacted as a protocol to prevent the spread of the virus, Title 42 has played a role in the current migrant and immigration crisis, limiting the already thousands of people entering the country via the U.S.-Mexico border.
Beginning in the spring of 2022, Texas Governor Greg Abbott started busing migrants to sanctuary cities that he said were more inept at handling the influx of people rather than the small Texas border towns that have become overrun with migrants. New York City has seen over 70,000 migrants enter the system over the course of a year, with as many as 600-800 migrants per day in recent weeks.
The Adams Administration recently announced their plan to begin bussing migrants to nearby counties in an effort to reduce the stress on the New York City shelter system. Rockland County and Orange County officials both pushed back, declaring a state of emergency in both counties, with judges placing temporary restraining orders on hotels, preventing them from accepting and housing migrants.
An email from the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services was released on Tuesday, May 9th, further showing the dire straits the city is in during the largest humanitarian crisis in city history. “We need your help! The city is also looking for emergency sites such as gyms or dorms that are available quickly and that could be used by the City temporarily to provide immediate relief to asylum seekers.” The email, which was sent to vendors the city works with regularly, showed that they were desperate for spaces to house the growing migrant population ahead of Title 42’s expiration.
On Thursday, May 11th, at midnight, Title 42 is projected to expire. On Friday, asylum-seeking migrants who are interviewed by immigration officers at the border may make their case to stay in the U.S. if they are found to be in “credible fear” of their safety.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s office announced that the state was expecting “several thousand additional people seeking shelter each week” in New York. Governor Hochul declared a Disaster Emergency on Tuesday, May 9th, that will be in effect for the entire state of New York until June 8th. The executive order implements the State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and calls on the American Red Cross to help local governments with the influx of people.