NYC is seeing fewer migrants since Biden border crackdown, Adams admin official says

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom.
Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

The number of migrants arriving in the Big Apple each week has dropped since President Biden took action last month to crack down on illegal border crossings, a top city official said Tuesday.

Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom said the city has seen a marked decrease in the number of new arrivals since Biden took executive action in early June to temporarily suspend asylum claims for those who cross the border illegally between ports of entry. Biden’s executive order, which kicks in when the average number of daily crossings over a 7-day period exceeds 2,500, makes those who cross illegally ineligible for asylum and subjects them to expedited deportation.

“I think we have seen some improvement in the amount of people who have been coming in through our front door based on what’s happening down at the border, based on the executive action that the president has taken,” Williams-Isom said, during Mayor Eric Adams’ weekly City Hall press conference.

Camille Joseph-Varlack, Adams’ chief of staff, noted that around 900 migrants entered the city’s shelter system last week. According to City Hall, that was the lowest weekly arrivals number since late October 2022.

However, there are still 64,000 newcomers in the city’s care out of the over 200,000 who have arrived in the five boroughs over the past two-plus years, Williams-Isom said. While the number of migrants living in city shelters has hovered around 64,000 since the beginning of the year, the deputy mayor said that figure is “not where we want to be.”

“With the largest population in our care being families with children, I think we really have to focus on resettlement in order to see that population going down,” she said. “Sixty four thousand cannot be our baseline, that is not sustainable.”

The administration has taken its own measures to lower the number of new arrivals in its care — most notably, by imposing 30-day limits on shelter stays for single adult migrants and 60-day limits for migrant families. Administration officials have insisted the policies have been instrumental in lowering the city’s shelter system census.

However, immigrant and homelessness advocates argue the administration is not doing nearly enough to help new arrivals secure stable housing and do not track where they end up once they leave city shelters.

The city has since imposed even stricter rules around the 30-day limit, following a March legal settlement involving its right-to-shelter mandate, that now does not allow adult migrants to reapply for shelter after 30 days. Migrants can ask for an extension, but will only be granted one if certain extenuating circumstances prevent them from leaving the system.

The mayor’s office said 17,800 30-day notices have gone out to adult migrants since the right-to-shelter settlement took effect in mid-April, with the first notices coming due in late May. Although she said exact data was not immediately available, Williams-Isom said “I think the extenuating circumstances has been going well.”