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NYC mayor Adams says 'right to shelter' doesn't apply to asylum seekers

"We don’t believe asylum seekers fall into the whole ‘right to shelter’ conversation,” the mayor said

January 26, 2023 8:50pm

Updated: February 19, 2023 10:52am

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said on Wednesday that asylum seekers are not entitled to the city's “right to shelter” policy as an unprecedented number of migrants continue to arrive at the city. 

“The court ruled that this is a sanctuary city,” Mayor Adams said during an interview with WABC radio’s “Sid & Friends in the Morning.” “We have a moral and legal obligation to fulfill that. We don’t believe asylum seekers fall into the whole ‘right to shelter’ conversation.”

“There’s no more room at the inn, and the reason there’s no more room at the inn is because the federal government is not doing their job,” said Adams. 

New York City officials have struggled to accommodate the more than 41,600 asylum seekers arriving in the city from border states since April. In response, the city has opened 77 emergency shelters and four Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers. Officials are also housing migrants in existing homeless shelters, makeshift camps, ferry terminals, and several hotels around the city. 

Adams has estimated that the measures taken to accommodate the migrants is costing the city an estimated 2 billion dollars. The mayor has since asked state and federal officials to help support the initiatives, however, he has only been redundant $10 million. 

New York City’s “right to shelter” law requires officials to provide a roof to anyone that does not have a home. The law is one of the strongest sanctuary city laws in the nation.

The mayor’s comments on the law created a backlash from several homeless advocates, immigration groups, and officials. 

“This is not a responsibility that Mayor Adams can decide to shirk, and he knows better,” said The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless.

“It’s not up to him to decide who can be excluded based on how they got here. Seems like his latest tactic to avoid fixing our shelter system— a crisis hurting too many NY families,” said the New York Immigration Coalition.