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The Immigration Crisis in NYC
Evanne Cass

Oct 18, 2023

As migrants flow into New York City’s shelters, many are concerned that the city can’t respond.

In the past two years, roughly 116,000 people have migrated to New York City. These people mainly come from the US-Mexico border, fleeing hardship in their home countries and seeking the protection of asylum in the US

The migrant influx has ignited robust criticism over immigration policy from all sides, especially over the asylum rules which require immigrants to wait about six months before being eligible for a work permit. Because of this rule, migrants have remained in the city’s shelter system, primarily spread out across 51 different hotels and two relief centers

How did New York get into this situation? Some experts believe immigrants have chosen New York City after learning about its “right to shelter” mandate, which legally requires the city to find placement for asylum seekers under a consent decree from the 1980s. Additionally, governors in Florida and Texas have sent new immigrants to New York by bus or plane, with upwards of 13,300 migrants arriving from the Lone Star State. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) has deployed 2,050 National Guard troops dedicated to the immigration issue, and has expressed her disdain for current restrictions on migrant work authorization: “It is critical that we help secure work authorization for asylum seekers and migrants in New York …We need to ensure individuals can navigate the paperwork necessary to get them established here so they can work and start making their American Dream a reality.”

The state of New York has also invested $50 million in case management to help migrants file the correct paperwork and earn legal work status. The Biden administration has also worked towards granting temporary legal status to hundreds of Venezuelans who have already arrived in the country. Accelerated work permits have been promised in order to mitigate the shelter crisis and allow immigrants to find work sooner. This does not apply to individuals who crossed the border illegally, who, by law, are required to wait six months to receive work permits. 

New York’s immigration crisis may be several crises in one: a humanitarian crisis, as people flee countries riddled with poverty and instability; a housing crisis, as the city struggles to find shelter for the increase in immigrants; and a political crisis, as the immigration policies and New York representatives come under intense scrutiny from both the left and right. 

As Mayor Eric Adams requests a temporary suspension of the city’s obligation to the “right to shelter” consent decree, many are concerned about the fate of migrants in New York. 

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