NYC Immigration Advocates Rally For End to 60-Day Shelter Rule

NEW YORK, New York – The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for more than 200 groups in New York State, has spearheaded a “children’s march and rally” at City Hall Park in lower Manhattan, urging New York City Mayor Eric Adams to end the 60-day rule for asylum seekers in city shelters. 

sherruleOn Friday, NYIC said  the United Federation of Teachers, elected officials, education allies, asylum-seeking families and immigrant New Yorkers joined NYIC at the rally earlier this week.

Marchers called on the mayor to eliminate the shelter notices for families, and, instead, prioritize the safety and well-being of asylum-seeking children and their families living in the city’s shelter system. 

Liza Schwartzwald, NYIC’s director of economic justice and family empowerment, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the city is hoping to move families who received the 60-day notice in early January.

“The city’s right to shelter has provided stability and safety for vulnerable New Yorkers in their journey towards self-sufficiency,” she said. “Mayor Adams’ continuous attacks on the right to shelter will force families and children out of shelters, destabilizing them, exposing them to danger, and have long-lasting effects. 

“As a result, it will disrupt children’s education as their families struggle to navigate the city’s complex system,” she added. “Prioritizing permanent housing will provide vulnerable families the opportunity to thrive, which is crucial for children’s mental and physical health.

“Instead, Adams continues to enforce his inhumane policies, going against cost-effective solutions, and leaving families and children to pick up the pieces. No child’s education should be at risk due to their living conditions,” Schwartzwald continued. “We urge the Adams administration to recognize the importance of permanent housing for vulnerable New Yorkers and eliminate all bureaucratic measures that prevent them from living with dignity.” 

Council Member Rita Joseph, chair of the City Council’s Committee on Education, noted that New York City is renowned as “the home of immigrants”, stating that the city “must continue to lead on that promise.”

“Mayor Adam’s administration cannot move forward with this egregious 60-day shelter policy that will destabilize our students and families,” said the Haitian-born representative for the 40th Council District in Brooklyn, New York. 

“Now, more than ever, we must lead with compassion, care and empathy, especially when it comes to our youngest New Yorkers,” she added. “The youth have always led the way, and I am incredibly proud to join them as we fight for better conditions.”

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said that enacting and implementing the 60-day rule is “a monumental failure by the administration to manage shelter for asylum seekers. 

“Forcibly uprooting families from shelter every two months will have a traumatic impact on children seeking asylum, will disrupt student learning, and hinder social and academic development,” he said. “This policy jeopardizes the welfare of families who deserve stability and security as they adjust, adapt, and rebuild their new lives as New Yorkers.” 

Former New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said that kicking families out of shelter every two months is “one of the most dangerous and damaging policies the city could ever implement to address the migrant and homelessness crises. 

“Nothing positive will come from forcing families out of the only stability they have every two months, displacing children from the schools they were just beginning to grow comfortable in, and moving around the resources families need to exit shelter,” said the President and Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit Win, Inc. “Instead, this will only worsen New York City’s homelessness crisis and create more trauma for those who have already endured too much. 

“With all signs pointing to the city forcing families into dangerous congregate settings next, I urge the Adams administration to reverse course and stop pursuing policies that are counter to who we are as New Yorkers and what New York City needs,” Quinn added. 

Ruth Messinger, global ambassador, American Jewish World Service in New York, said disrupting every classroom and damaging the learning community being built with and for each immigrant student and his/her family is “incredibly self-defeating.”

“It hurts the newest New Yorkers, their families, their teachers and all the other children with whom they are at school,” she said. “We need case management in place of evictions, helping families in shelters find housing without moving out of their homes and schools.”