In response to the city’s migrant crisis, Mayor Adams’ legal team requested on Tuesday that the state Supreme Court suspend New York City’s right-to-shelter law during periods when the city “lacks the resources and capacity to maintain sufficient shelter sites, staffing, and security.”
This drastic action drew immediate criticism from the city’s liberal establishment.
The legal request, addressed to Judge Deborah Kaplan and signed by Assistant Corporation Counsel Jonathan Pines for Adams, asks for “relief from and modification of” the 1981 consent decree that established the right to refuge.
The migrant crisis, which has caused more than 65,000 asylum applicants to pour into the city since last spring, was mentioned by Pines and the mayor himself as the primary justification for the administration’s desire to tighten the law.
We have no intention of eliminating the right to refuge. Adams said in Tuesday night’s written statement that “today’s move will allow us to receive clarity from the court and protect the right to shelter for the tens of thousands in our care, both previously unhoused people and asylum seekers.
Given that we can’t care for everyone and are already overburdened, it is in everyone’s best interest, even those trying to immigrate to the United States.
When the Adams administration was about to lodge migrants in tents at a Bronx parking lot, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless, which are in charge of overseeing the city’s compliance with the legislation, threatened to file a lawsuit against the city if it disobeyed the law.
Days before, the town had appeared to violate the right to shelter laws when it failed to provide lodging for those in need within the allotted time frame.
Adams has since issued an executive order suspending some right-to-shelter provisions, citing the migrant situation as justification.
The action taken on Tuesday, however, is more significant and, if approved by the court, could permanently change the right to shelter law by allowing the city to claim an exemption due to a lack of resources, such as “sites, staffing, and security to provide safe and appropriate shelter.”