05132023

Covid-Era Border Policy Expires

The city had dispatched two buses of migrants. They arrived at the Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh just 15 minutes after the worker’s alert, and were met by protesters and supporters, as well as local police officers who had spent the night at the hotel.

Just hours before, on Wednesday night, Mayor Eric Adams’s spokesman had announced a temporary pause in such transports.

A state official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said the city did not give the state a heads up that they were resuming the busing, an assertion repeated by Mr. Neuhaus, but disputed by Fabien Levy, the spokesman for Mr. Adams.

“He is wrong and we made that very clear,” Mr. Levy said. “We never said anything of the sort. In fact, all we said yesterday was that program was paused yesterday, but that our plans had not changed.”

The apparent miscommunication underscores the difficulties Mr. Adams is facing as he frantically seeks help from his fellow New York officials in the face of a potentially dramatic increase in the already heavy flow of migrants into New York City.

On Thursday night, the federal government ceased using Title 42, a Trump-era policy to swiftly expel hundreds of thousands of migrants, some of whom might otherwise have been granted asylum.

Thousands of asylum-seeking migrants are now expected to make their way to New York City, the only major municipality in the United States that has offered shelter to all homeless people under its “right to shelter” mandate.

While Mr. Adams has spent the past year warning about how an increase in migrants would affect the city, critics say he does not appear to have done as much planning. It was only last Friday that he announced he would send migrants to two upstate counties, both run by Republicans. And it was only last Sunday that he demanded that leaders of city agencies send him a list of all facilities with enough space to accommodate large numbers of migrants.

In choosing to send the buses to Orange County, the mayor appeared to have bypassed friendlier territory, like the county of Westchester, which is led by a Democrat.

During a tense, hourlong call on Thursday with more than 100 leaders from across the state, some leaders voiced their belief that Mr. Adams was not working effectively with colleagues.

During that call, a recording of which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Neuhaus, the Orange County executive, complained directly about the miscommunication to Mr. Adams, while also implicating the state as the intermediary.

“Last night the governor’s office promised us that we would have a pause on everything,” Mr. Neuhaus said. “And the City of New York sent up the buses anyway.” He added, “That’s a problem, Mr. Mayor.”

“Steve, you know who is not getting a pause?” Mr. Adams responded, referring to the influx of migrants. “Eric Adams.”

More than 65,000 migrants have come to New York City in the past year, according to new numbers released by city officials on that call, and nearly 40,000 of them remain in city care at 130 emergency shelters and eight larger-scale centers.

During the call, Mr. Adams lashed out at state leaders for not joining him to lobby Washington for more assistance in dealing with the migrants.

But upstate leaders said they had not been following news of New York City’s migrant issue all that closely and could not have been expected to independently lobby on the city’s behalf.

Several state officials compared Mr. Adams’s actions to those of Gov. Greg Abbott, a Texas Republican who has been busing migrants to New York City with little notice and no funding attached.

Mr. Adams, in contrast, has promised to fund up to four months of hotel accommodation and services for migrants who volunteer to go to the suburbs, and during Thursday’s call, he told state officials he would not leave them stranded.

“I am treating your municipalities, your cities, the way I would want those who are shipping people to treat me,” Mr. Adams said.

On Wednesday night, Mr. Adams also took the step of suspending some rules surrounding the right to shelter, including regulations governing how quickly the city must place families with children in private rooms with bathrooms and kitchens.

“This was a hard decision,” Mr. Adams said during a news conference on Thursday. “But it’s the right decision. This is just wrong what is happening to New York City. It’s wrong. And no one seems to care.”

At a rally on Thursday in a park by City Hall, immigration advocates argued that the expiration of Title 42 represented an opportunity for the city to continue its historical role of welcoming immigrants.

Holding signs that said “Immigrants are New York,” they also called on President Biden to do more to help the city.

“We need federal resources because people will come to the city,” said Carlina Rivera, a councilwoman who represents the Lower East Side of Manhattan. “They see the lady in the harbor. They know we are a sanctuary city.”

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