NEW YORK (PIX11) — Migrant advocates and dozens of asylum seekers rallied outside Gracie Mansion Thursday calling on Mayor Eric Adams to protect the city’s right to shelter decree, as thousands of migrants continue to arrive in New York City.
Orange sleeping bags were placed on the ground along East End Avenue by asylum seekers symbolizing their fear of ending up on the streets. Migrants said they could face that harsh reality after the Adams administration decided to limit shelter, stays for migrant families with children to 60 days and 30 days for single adult men.
“We are going to see tens of thousands of people sleeping on the subways, in our plazas,” said Amaha Kassa of the organization African Communities Together. “We need a mayor who stands up and demands that the city, the state, and the federal government take leadership. Meet the needs of our migrants.”
Abdoulaye Dia is a migrant who was amongst the demonstrators rallying. He said he came to the U.S. from Senegal, fleeing danger and economic turmoil, hoping for a chance at safety and opportunity. He tells PIX11 News that he was placed in a shelter in Brooklyn but had to leave after his 30-day stay was up. He has since been living in a mosque but said even that is not reliable housing.
“She tells me only 2 weeks,” Dia said. “I have to leave there.”
He said he does not know where he will go once, he leaves the mosque because he does not have any money.
The rally comes just weeks after reports emerged that the Adams administration would start issuing tents to newly arrived migrants, rather than offering shelter placements. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office did not confirm those reports but says more than 140,000 asylum seekers have come through the intake system since the spring of 2022 and have all been offered vital care including shelter, food, and medical care.
Adding that “with more than 65,600 migrants still currently in our care, and thousands more continuing to arrive every week, we have used every possible corner of New York City and are, quite simply, out of good options to shelter migrants,” the spokesperson said.
Still, advocates are pushing back.
“We know that New York has welcomed hundreds of thousands and millions of migrants in the past and that we can do it again,” Kassa said.
The city has challenged the right to shelter agreement in court citing a strain on the shelter system. A spokesperson says the city is not looking to terminate that agreement all together, but they are asking for the city’s obligations to be aligned with the rest of the state during states of emergency.