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NYC Dems look to eliminate shelter stay limits for illegal immigrants, calling it a 'human rights abuse' to have evictions
Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

NYC Dems look to eliminate shelter stay limits for illegal immigrants, calling it a 'human rights abuse' to have evictions

A New York City councilwoman has reintroduced a bill that would prevent city shelters from imposing limits on the stays of illegal immigrants, as well as other families and individuals seeking care.

Democratic Councilwoman Shahana Hanif will have her bill on the council agenda February 28, 2024, to discuss the prohibition of limits on stays in New York City shelters. An initial proposal of the legislation stalled in October 2024.

The new version's text has prohibited "the department of social services or any other city agency from imposing length of shelter stay restrictions in a shelter of any type."

Currently, shelters in the city have a limit of 30 days for single adults before they can reapply, while families have a 60-day limit, the New York Post reported. A 60-day limit was originally imposed by Mayor Eric Adams in July 2023 after the surge of illegal immigrants began arriving.

Councilwoman Hanif is a democratic socialist who has received endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). She has stated that she has a vision to make New York an "anti-racist, feminist city."

Other progressives have agreed to co-sponsor the bill, and Hanif told the New York Post she would be working with a Democrat state senator and Queens Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz. Cruz, a fellow Democrat, is also attempting similar legislation in Albany.

"Shelter evictions are a human-rights abuse that both the city and state Legislatures need to be taking on, given our shared oversight of shelter functions," Hanif claimed. "Our offices will be collaborating closely as we work to advance our bills in City Hall and the Capitol."

The legislation comes just weeks after a group of migrants refused shelter accommodations after they were forced to leave New York City hotels. The migrants claimed the shelter was inhumane, and Hanif agreed.

"We know that the needs of asylum-seekers cannot be met in this setting. ... I call on the administration to abandon this model and prioritize keeping people in proper brick-and-mortar facilities," she said.

Some shelters have seen violence as 66,000 alleged asylum-seekers and migrants are under the city's watch.

Over 177,000 migrants have reportedly been processed in New York City since 2022, with city shelters currently holding over 88,000, according to the New York Post. The numbers have steadily remained over 75,000 since mid-2023.

Republican Councilwoman Joann Ariola said that the "30- and 60-day check-ins exist for a reason."

"They provide opportunities for city agencies to make contact with migrants in the shelter system and ensure that they’re on a path towards living on their own," she added.

Ariola went on to say that removing the stay limits would "only create a culture of dependency" and that it would cause illegal immigrants to "never leave the city’s care."

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