Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix have launched a lawsuit against more than 30 counties, alleging their emergency executive orders unlawfully hinder the city’s efforts to house asylum seekers amid the largest humanitarian crisis in the city’s history.
The lawsuit targets Rockland and Orange counties, among 31 others, for executing emergency orders aimed at preventing the city from lodging migrants in local hotels. The orders, labeled as “misguided and unlawful” by city officials, are allegedly based on unfounded assertions of asylum seekers posing a significant public safety risk.
The city and the NYC Department of Social Services seek to declare the emergency orders as overstepping their authority, being arbitrary and capricious, and abusing discretion.
A Southern District judge on Monday, June 5th issued a preliminary injunction, barring Orange and Rockland counties from implementing their emergency executive orders, citing a violation of newcomers’ Fourth Amendment rights. Interestingly, the lawsuit omits Albany and Monroe counties, which have enacted similar measures.
Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom said during a Tuesday, June 6th press briefing that roughly 72,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since last spring, and over 47,000 are presently sheltered within the city limits.
She also announced a $104.6 million allocation from FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program to help address the migrant crisis. The city has already expended over $1.2 million on the issue, and projects cost surpassing $4.3 billion by next June.
Mayor Adams emphasized the dire situation in a statement, saying, “We have repeatedly sounded the alarm that our shelter system is at capacity…We need every locality across the state to do their part as well.”
As part of its crisis response, New York City plans to house some asylum seekers in worship houses overnight, anticipating accommodating around 1,000 individuals, with additional facilities available during the day. The city also intends to lodge some migrants in hotel rooms outside the five boroughs, covering the associated costs.