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What a State of Emergency in New York Because of Newly Arrived Migrants Means

This summary about Mayor Eric Adams declaring New York City in a State of Emergency was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Mayor Eric Adams announced a State of Emergency on Friday over the thousands of asylum seekers arriving in New York City. 

The order itself will remain in effect for 30 days, while state agencies are meant to urgently execute the directives over the course of five days following the declaration.  

The mayor called on several agencies to take immediate steps to provide assistance to asylum seekers arriving in New York because the City’s Department of Homeless Services shelter system is nearing its highest ever recorded population (over 61,000 individuals).

Agencies will establish and operate temporary humanitarian relief centers: The New York City Emergency Management has been given authority to cooperate with the Office of Immigrant Affairs and other agencies listed in the declaration to establish and operate centers that will provide assistance for arriving asylum seekers including: “respite, food, medical care, case work services, and assistance in accessing…settlement options,” and “direct referrals to alternative emergency supports.”

The Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services will immediately establish policies for how the relief centers will operate: HHS will provide policies and procedures that will ensure information collected from migrants served in relief centers are confidential, and there will be restrictions on the disclosure of information about a person’s immigration status.

The declaration also suspends laws and rules related to Uniform Land Use Review Procedure: The suspension of these laws and rules would essentially make it easier for the New York City emergency humanitarian relief centers to be constructed. 

The mayor’s office has not given specific examples about the constraints that land use regulations impose. But the suspension of the laws and rules are only as it relates to the siting, construction, and operations of the relief centers. And it could essentially ease the process for agencies to reassign land or property — which are currently restricted for certain uses — to temporarily shelter asylum seekers. 

The mayor hasn’t heeded the advice of City Council members and advocates: The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless, which have been monitoring the implementation of the city’s right to shelter law, recently criticized Mayor Adams for failing to invest more in affordable housing that would have eased the challenges shelters are now facing. 

“It is the city’s historic shameful failure to adequately invest in affordable housing that has continued to fuel mass homelessness,” they said in the statement. “We reaffirm our call on the city to abandon its plan to construct tent cities, and to instead focus on high-quality indoor shelter options and permanent housing.”

It also appears the mayor has not been transparent with the City Council about the crisis. Michael Whitesides, spokesperson for Council member Shahana Hanif, Chair of the Council’s Immigration Committee, told Documented the mayor has not been in communication with the council. “Absolutely not! We’d love to be in deeper conversation with this mayor about how the Council could be more helpful but we’re kept in the dark,” they said. “It’s a complicated humanitarian situation and we’re grateful for all the hard work of so many people in city hall but we need deeper collaboration.”

More on how Documented has covered the City’s intake of newly arriving migrants:

Amir Khafagy, Documented’s Labor Reporter via Report for America contributed research and reporting. 

STORIES WE ARE FOLLOWING 

New York

Documented launches newimmigrants.nyc, a homepage for newly arrived asylum seekers: Our Guide to NYC for Asylum-seekers is an essential directory for Day 1 in the city. It includes clear information about how to access shelter, food, free legal help, language classes and more. — Check it out, and pass it along in English newimmigrants.nyc, and Spanish nuevosinmigrantes.nyc

Ads appear to be targeting asylum seekers to help rebuild Florida following Hurricane Ian: Advocates in New York are worried migrants are becoming targets of fly-by-night businesses eager to exploit people for hard work and low wages. — NBC News

‘Exactly what I wanted’ — An interview with fake heiress Anna Sorokin on her first night of house arrest: Sorokin said immigration lawyers told her she’d “get deported to Mars before I’d get out in New York. And I just had to find the person who’d align with my vision…” — New York Times

Around the U.S. 

Unpacking the migrant shooting in Texas: These are not the first allegations raised against former warden Michael Shepard. Sheppard has previously faced allegations of violence and racism by individuals held in ICE detention. — Immigration Impact

Washington D.C.

CBP Commissioner: Busing migrants inspires others to come to the border: Chris Magnus said the politicians complaining about factors that attract migration to the U.S. are also creating them, and that social media is a strong influence. — Los Angeles Times

A review of the November 2022 Visa Bulletin: Webber provides an analysis of the November 2022 Visa Bulletin including Section E which signals cut-off dates for India, China, and other nationalities. — Webber Immigration News and Analysis

Advocates criticize Biden’s exclusion of immigrants from marijuana pardons: The Immigrant Defense Project says it is disappointing that undocumented immigrants were excluded from the pardons, and that even pardoned immigrants may remain at risk of detention and deportation. — Read more

Also read: A thread from Marie Mark, an attorney and Deputy Director at the Immigrant Defense Project, about what the pardon means and how it could impact immigrants.

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