NY governor, attorney general split in right-to-shelter case
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Friday, August 11, 2023


We’re handing over the lead story in today’s newsletter to Documented’s journalist intern, Dashiell Allen. Yesterday, he and my colleague Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio were at a City Council oversight hearing about the Adams administration’s decision to limit single adults’ stays in shelters to 60 days. So far, 1,400 asylum seekers have received 60-day notices, Dashiell reports.

Also in the news: NY AG Letitia James declines to represent Gov. Hochul in right-to-shelter case — Virginia company charged with trafficking Central American children, forcing them to work at a commercial laundry overnight — and more in Stories We’re Following

Tomorrow: Join Documented’s Storytelling and Photobooth at a summer festival in Chinatown 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 12. Read more about it in the Events section of this newsletter.

By: Fisayo Okare 

1,400 asylum seekers at NYC shelters get 60-day notices  share

It’s been more than three weeks since Mayor Eric Adams first announced that single migrants would have to leave city’s care after 60 days in the system.

Now, approximately 1,400 single asylum seekers have received notice that they would need to move out of their current shelter within 60 days, according to Zach Iscol, the Commissioner of the NYC Emergency Management. 

Of this group, 65% expressed interest in making “exit plans” to leave the shelter system and find permanent housing, he said. 

On Thursday, city officials, elected leaders, and advocates spoke at a City Council oversight hearing about the Adams administration’s decision to limit single adult’s shelter stays to 60 days, after which they would be required to repeat the intake process outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown. 

Representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, NYC Health and Hospitals, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development testified at the hearing. Some city council members lamented that representatives from the Departments of Homeless Services and Social Services were not present. 

Iscol said shelter workers are providing “intensive case management” to the asylum seekers who received notices, connecting them to resources like IDNYC cards, English classes, OSHA trainings, and transportation to other parts of the United States. 

The 60-day policy is meant to “create critically needed space for families and children” by freeing up space previously occupied by single adults, Iscol said, adding that 300 to 500 asylum seekers are arriving in New York City every day – one in four of whom leave the city within 24 hours.  

Theodore Long, Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health and Hospitals, said that the City is “past the breaking point,” adding that the policy is “the best option of terrible options.”  

But city council members pushed back on the new shelter rule, arguing that it could precipitate a growing homeless crisis, and leave numerous asylum seekers with no choice but to sleep on the streets. Images of more than 100 people who slept for over a week outside the Roosevelt Hotel made national headlines in recent weeks. 

Brooklyn Councilmember Shahana Hanif, chair of the committee on immigration, said she did not support the administration’s new policy.

“It seems really hard to justify both legally and morally as the thing to do in our city right now,” she said. “This policy needs to be undone. You can’t put in measures that are pilot experiments to see what could happen.” 

Approximately 40% of the nearly 100,000 asylum seekers who have been in the City’s care have exited the shelter system, Long said. 

“We’re still at the height of the humanitarian crisis,” said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. The city received 2,900 asylum seekers last week. “We're very much still trying to figure out what to do day to day,” he said. 

Share your thoughts with us by replying to this email or sending us a message at earlyarrival@documenteny.com




New York

NY attorney general declines to represent Gov. Hochul in right-to-shelter case
New York Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Kathy Hochul appear to be on opposite sides of the right-to-shelter law. — The New York Times share

New York rights groups call for fast-track work permits for asylum seekers
Unions and human rights advocates are calling on Biden admin. to fast-track work permits for migrants, whose employment could help alleviate strain on social services. — The Guardian share

Adams makes local changes to reduce $12 billion projected cost for asylum seekers' needs
Using the 60-day shelter limit and other policies, the City plans to reduce the rate of population growth in the shelter system by 20%. — Documented share

Two illuminating quotes from Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom’s addresses
The migrant crisis is a global quandary set off by converging unaddressed issues, but it isn’t acomparable to the 9/11 or Covid crises as Adams mentioned. — Felipe De La Hoz writes in Epicenter-NYC’s Newsletter share

Around the U.S.

Virginia company charged with trafficking Central American children, forcing them to work at commercial laundry overnight
A teenage victim told investigators that for a two-year period from the ages of 14-16 years old, they were forced to work 11-hour overnight shifts before attending their high school classes. — The Virginian-Pilot share

Border officials fire pepper balls at migrants on a railroad bridge in South El Paso
CBP officers fired until the crowd of 1,000 migrants dispersed back to Mexico. Advocates say federal officials used “disproportionate” force against asylum-seekers. — Border Report share

Surge of neurotrauma from raised border walls
Scientists have seen potentially devastating blunt cerebrovascular injuries among migrants who’ve fallen while climbing border walls. — World Neurosurgery  share

U visa backlog leaves many Minnesota immigrants in limbo
Lenore Millibergity, an attorney with the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, speaks to MPR News host Cathy Wurzer about delays in getting work permits and U visas for immigrant victims of crime. — Listen here share

Washington D.C.

U.S and Iran reach deal to win freedom of five Americans detained in Iran
The prisoners are now in house arrest. They will be released to the U.S. in exchange for Iranian prisoners and $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue. — The New York Times share  



Revenues soar for private prisons detaining immigrants
A total of 30,438 people are being detained by ICE, and 91% are in private prison facilities. At the start of the Biden administration, just half of that number were held. share

Asylum seekers spent nights sleeping outside the Roosevelt Hotel as the shelter network reached capacity
I would like to move out of the shelter so I’m not relying on the government,” said Yeraldin Ruiz, a 24-year-old asylum seeker from Venezuela who has been staying at a Queens hotel shelter with her husband and three-year-old daughter for a year. share

Street vendors occupy Corona Plaza, protesting city crackdown
The vendors are demanding that the city works with them to formalize the informal market, and expedite the permitting process. share



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ROAR festival share

  • What: A 6-week summer festival celebrating the communities and culture in Lower East Side and Chinatown. ROAR aims to energize public spaces, celebrate AAPI people and culture, and increase connection, well-being, and joy in Chinatown and the LES. Documented will join the festival and set up a booth there.
  • When: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturday, August 12, 2023
  • Where: The north side of Sara D. Roosevelt (SDR) Park – between Rivington and Houston Streets – will serve as the central hub where local residents can find ROAR events.
  • Who: University Settlement. Read more here.


Immigration Reporter, Boston Globe share

  • What: As climate change sends migrants north, and as political unrest continues to displace people around the world, new arrivals to New England are reshaping local communities, putting pressure on housing, schools, health care, government services, and creating political tensions at the local and state level. The Boston Globe is hiring a reporter to cover these dynamics and more in the New England region.
  • Where: Boston, Massachusetts. Read more and apply here

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Today's newsletter was edited by Kathryn Krawczyk.

Editing contributions from Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio in the lead story. 

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