Fri | Dec 8, 2023

NY mayor announces ultimatum for Caribbean migrants to ‘take next step’

Published:Wednesday | September 27, 2023 | 8:59 AM
New York City Mayor Eric Adams. - CMC photo

NEW YORK, CMC – New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, has announced 30-day notices for adult Caribbean migrants to “take the next step” as the number of Caribbean and other asylum seekers in New York City's care tops 60,000.

Many of the asylum seekers arriving in New York from southern US border states are nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Guatemala and Adams said New York City has made “every effort to continue serving” the more than 116,000 asylum seekers who have arrived here last spring.

However, with an average of between 300 and 500 people still arriving in the five boroughs asking for shelter on a daily basis, and 60,000 migrants currently in the city's care, he said New York City is “full, having responded without all the substantial state or federal support needed to manage a national crisis.”

Over the past two months, the mayor said the city has distributed a significant number of  60-day notices to adult asylum seekers, with intensified casework services, to help these individuals reach their final destination and transition to alternate housing.

“As the city still seeks further and timely support from federal and state partners, adult asylum seekers who have not secured alternative housing after their current 60-day notice has expired, and who subsequently return to the Asylum Seeker Arrival Center, will receive a placement with an additional 30-day notice, coupled with further intensified casework services,” Adams said.

The city has since released “The Road Forward: A Blueprint to Address New York City's Response to the Asylum Seeker Crisis,” detailing how it will continue to manage the influx of asylum seekers and advocate for support from federal and state partners.

But immigrant advocates in New York have condemned the mayor's initiative to expel Caribbean and other asylum seekers from shelters after 30 days.

“Staying in a shelter is nobody's idea of home, but rather a necessity until unhoused individuals and families can get on their feet. Instead of complicating an already arduous system, Mayor Adams should alleviate the shelter crisis by getting both long-term shelter residents and asylum seekers into permanent housing …which will ultimately save the city three billion US dollars per year,” Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

“Doubling down on bad ideas, and making vulnerable people jump through bureaucratic hoops in order to wear them down, is just cold-hearted – and does nothing to solve our shelter crisis,” he added. “This is not the type of leadership we expect from the Mayor of New York City.”

Natalia Aristizabal, deputy director of another immigrant advocacy group, Make the Road New York, said the mayor is “legally and morally obligated to provide proper solutions for unhoused people.

“Removing recently arrived asylum seekers from shelters after 30 days is cruel, unreasonable and unlawful,” she said.

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