Migrant families rally for end to New York’s new 60-day limits on shelter stays

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NEW YORK — Migrant families and their advocates marched outside New York City Hall on Tuesday to demand Mayor Eric Adams end his plan to limit the number of days newly arrived immigrants can remain in city-run shelters.

The late afternoon demonstration of students and parents at City Hall Park was in response to an order Adams issued in October limiting homeless migrants and their children to 60 days in city housing. The Democrat said the move was necessary to relieve a shelter system overwhelmed by asylum-seekers crossing the southern U.S. border.

Liza Schwartzwald, a director at the New York Immigration Coalition, one of the groups that organized Tuesday’s rally, said the time limits only serve to uproot families who have already made the dangerous journey across the border after fleeing poverty and crime in their homelands.

“There’s no excuse to retraumatize these families,” she said.

Karen Alford, a vice president at the United Federation of Teachers, said the policy will force migrant students just settling into classes to move from school to school as their families seek out new places to live in the city.

“As a city we must do better,” she said.

Spokespersons for Adams didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. But the mayor earlier Tuesday suggested frustrated New Yorkers should be protesting in the streets of the nation’s capital instead.

“We need to mobilize and rally and go to D.C. and say to the national government this is not fair what is happening to New York City,” said Adams, who has been among the big city mayors appealing for more federal help in managing the surge of migrants they say are arriving in their cities with little to no coordination, support or resources from President Joe Biden’s administration.

The 60-day limit is among the Adams administration’s efforts to rein in New York’s decades-old “ right to shelter,” which obligates the city to provide emergency housing to anyone who asks.

The first families affected by the order were expected to reach their time limit just days after Christmas. But the mayor’s office told The Associated Press last week that those migrants will receive extensions through early January.

Roughly 3,500 families have been issued notices so far. Single adult migrants are already capped at 30-days in shelters.

Those who still need help after their move-out deadline must reapply. But city officials have warned that a new placement might not happen right away. Families could also get sent to the sprawling tent complexes the city has constructed far from Manhattan.

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