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CityLimits: Mayor Touts Latest—Lower—Cost Estimate For Sheltering New Immigrant Arrivals

In presenting his Preliminary Budget, Mayor Eric Adams claimed he’s cutting costs for the city in part because of his administration’s recently implemented shelter stay limit policy. In a recent interview with CityLimits, Melissa Chua, Co-Director of NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit, shed light on the contradictory nature of that claim. 

“Toward the end of last year, the New York City Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projected a gap of $7.1 billion in the fiscal year that will begin on July 1—driven by $6.1 billion the city expected it would be spending on sheltering newly-arrived immigrants… 

 “’Last August I stood here and told you that we were projecting that more than 100,000 individuals would be in our city’s care by mid-2024, and that cost would exceed $12 billion over three fiscal years if circumstances did not change,’ Adams said in a video address from City Hall Tuesday afternoon.   
 
“But a combination of strict limits on immigrant shelter stays, ‘reticketing’ efforts to move immigrants to locations outside the city and additional resettlement case management have helped drive that estimate down, [the Mayor] continued…“Melissa Chua, co-director of the Immigrant Protection Unit at the New York Legal Assistance Group, said the shelter eviction policy only makes things harder for newly arrived immigrants, saying uprooting people every 30 or 60 days is ‘just adding a cruel and unnecessary element of destabilization to their lives.’ 

“’How can you say you’re putting recently arrived immigrants on a path to self sufficiency when you’re blatantly complicating their access to mail, which they need in order to complete their work authorization or asylum applications, for example?’ Chua said. 

Read the full piece by Emma Whitford in CityLimits from January 17, 2024. 

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