The Roosevelt Hotel
The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City's primary migrant arrival center. Latin Times/Andrea Pineda-Salgado

NEW YORK CITY - Migrant families started being evicted from their shelter stays in New York City as of this week, following an order issued by Mayor Eric Adams in an effort to free up shelter space.

Nearly 170,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since 2022. As the number of migrants continues to rise at a sustained pace, the city scrambles to accommodate them and opened up various emergency shelters to do so.

To address this, Adams imposed a 30-day shelter limit for single adults and 60-day shelter limit for families. The first batch of single adults reached their limit and checked out last month. On Tuesday, the first batch of migrant families began doing so and additional families will follow suit in the coming days and weeks.

"For over a year, New York City has led the response to this national crisis, but significant additional resources, coordination, and support are needed from all levels of government," said Adams in a statement in October, when he first announced the limits. "This step builds on our work providing notices and intensified casework services to adults in the city's care to help them move to alternative housing."

NYC Mayor Eric Adams
Eric Adams AFP

The decision has been criticized by advocates who say that the reshuffling of migrants in the middle of winter is unnecessary and disruptive.

"There is no leadership coming out of City Hall. In their effort to reduce the number of folks who need housing, they think ripping children out of their beds will make these families leave and go back to their countries of origin, that will not happen," said Christine Quinn, an advocate and former City Council speaker, at a protest on Monday.

Advocates worry the reshuffling will negatively impact children, who might end up in housing far away from the schools they are currently attending. For those who have pending asylum applications, the reshuffling may cause paperwork to be lost in the mix.

Migrant families will have to pack up their belongings and reapply for another spot at a shelter at The Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown. When limits were imposed on single adults, around 80% of them had made prior permanent living arrangements. Those in support of the shelter stay limits hope migrant families will have a similar percentage.

The Adams administration has taken other measures to stem the flow of migrants reaching the city, most recently suing 17 charter bus companies used by Texas to send migrants there as part of its "Lone Star" operation.

Concretely, the Adams administration claims the companies violate New York state law by taking migrants to the city but not paying for their care after they leave. It is seeking $708 million in compensation. "Today's lawsuit should serve as a warning to all those who break the law in this way," Adams said in a press release.

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