Posted on July 20, 2023

New York City Tells Migrants There’s ‘No Guarantee’ of Finding Help Here

Jeffery C. Mays, New York Times, July 19, 2023

New York City will immediately begin discouraging asylum seekers from seeking refuge here, distributing fliers at the southern border that warn migrants there is “no guarantee” they will receive shelter or services, Mayor Eric Adams announced on Wednesday.

The city’s move is a sharp and somewhat unexpected departure from its long-held status as a sanctuary city, and as a place that guarantees a right to shelter.

“We have no more room in the city,” Mr. Adams said during a news conference at City Hall.

As part of the city’s shift in strategy, it will now require single adult migrants to reapply for shelter after 60 days, a move that the mayor said was designed to make room for families with children. Mr. Adams said the city would intensify efforts to help the migrants connect with family, friends or outside networks in order to find alternative housing arrangements.


More than 90,000 migrants have arrived in the city since the spring of 2022 and close to 55,000 are still in the city’s care. Combined with the city’s existing homeless population, more than 105,800 people are being sheltered by the city, a record.

The city has opened more than 188 sites to house migrants, including 18 humanitarian relief centers. From July 10-16, 2,800 new migrants arrived {snip}

Our compassion is infinite,” said Dr. Ted Long, senior vice president at NYC Health + Hospitals, the agency that operates much of the emergency housing for migrants. “Our space is not.”

The fliers, however, do not convey much compassion. Available in English and Spanish, they describe New York City’s high cost of housing, food and transportation. An accompanying illustration shows arrows pointing north from the border to South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and three other states — but not New York.


Brad Lander, the city comptroller, said the announcement undermined the right to shelter and “the defining role of New York as a beacon of promise inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.”


The mayor and city officials continued to criticize the federal government for not providing expedited work authorizations and for not forcing other jurisdictions to help absorb the influx of migrants. The city has estimated that it would spend $4 billion through the next fiscal year to house and feed the asylum seekers.


One strategy has involved sending migrants outside the city, which has sued municipalities that have tried to block those efforts. Mr. Adams also asked a judge to relieve the city of its unique right to shelter obligations.