No end in sight for ongoing New York migrant crisis

As the New York City migrant crisis continues to worsen, many fear that the city’s capacity and resources could be reaching a breaking point.

The New York City Office of the Mayor reports that more than 116,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the city since the spring of 2022, 60,000 of which are currently under the city’s care. With an average of 300-500 migrants arriving daily, the crisis is showing no signs of slowing down. 

Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams made news headlines with dire comments in a town hall meeting on the effect of the crisis on the city.

“Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City,” Adams said. 

The more than 7 million migrants and refugees that have left the country have sought refuge in Central America, the Caribbean and the United States.

Last week, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced she is deploying the National Guard, adding another 150 members to the already 2,050 guardsmen assigned to New York. The guardsmen aim to provide logistical support to asylum seekers and assist them in getting out of shelters which are overcrowded.

In an attempt to mitigate the crisis, the Biden administration recently announced it would be granting temporary protected status to hundreds of thousands of migrants who arrived before July 31, allowing them to seek work permits at an accelerated rate. Hochul labeled the action “an important first step” after she and Adams pleaded for support from the federal government for months.

The origins of the surge in immigration can primarily be attributed to refugees from Venezuela fleeing instability, economic hardship and an oppressive government. The more than 7 million migrants and refugees that have left the country have sought refuge in Central America, the Caribbean and the United States. Additional migrants are emigrating from Northern Africa and other Latin American countries.

New York City is legally required to provide temporary shelter to anyone who “by reason to physical, mental or social dysfunction is in need of temporary shelter” under a 1981 consent degree. This “right to shelter” law has been subject to controversy in recent months, with the Adams administration being one of its most outspoken critics

The conditions inside the temporary shelters have been labeled as inadequate and even inhumane. Some of the details described by migrants include little to no access to bathrooms and eating solely “chips and water” for lunch. Most notably, crowds of migrants sleep on streets as a result of shelters being at maximum capacity.

The crisis in New York City has also gained the attention of national political figures such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Abbott, known for his harsh stance on immigration, recently visited the city. Abbott has criticized the policies of New York City and other “sanctuary cities” and has bussed over 15,000 migrants to the city from Texas. Many condemn Abbott’s actions as using human beings as political pawns.

More calls for federal assistance can be expected as the crisis continues to aggravate.

Featured photo courtesy of Brett Sayles, Pexels