Migrants arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan after...

Migrants arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan after traveling from Del Rio, Texas. Credit: Bloomberg/Victor J. Blue

The number of foreign migrants entering New York City’s homeless intake system has been declining since earlier this year, in tandem with fewer illegal border crossings from Mexico into the United States, Mayor Eric Adams’ office said Thursday.

Last week, there were about 1,300 new migrants entering the system, compared with a peak of about 4,000 during certain periods of the crisis since spring 2022.

“We’re still seeing smaller numbers at the border, which is good for us. We’re not sure if there’s some policy reason for that, or if it’s about the winter, if it’s about our bus lawsuit. We’re not sure, but we are grateful for it,” Anne Williams-Isom, Adams’ deputy mayor who oversees the migrant crisis response, said Thursday afternoon outside Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel.

As she spoke, migrants lugging wheeled suitcases trickled in and out of the Roosevelt, the historic midtown hotel that was converted last spring into a centralized intake center with 1,000 rooms to house migrants. Since spring 2022, more than 178,600 migrants, mostly from Latin America, have been processed through the city intake system.

In the past month, the number of migrants crossing illegally into the United States dropped by 50%.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency reported having encountered migrants between ports of entry 124,220 times last month, down from more than 249,000 a month prior.

Still, the number of the border crossings has hit record levels during President Joe Biden’s presidency, and such crossings tend to go down in January.

Since the holidays, in New York City intake numbers have been declining, according to Adams spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak. For example, from Feb. 12 to Feb. 18, there were about 1,300. The first week of January, the number was about 3,400, she said.

The migrant head count in city-provided housing — shelters and hotels — has been roughly stable since last year, after the city imposed an eviction policy capping a single adult migrant’s stay at 30 days and a family’s at 60 days. After those limits, a migrant can still reapply for housing, but it’s a process with red tape and a wait.

Among the 120,000 or so people in the city’s homeless system, there are still more migrants — about 65,000 people — than from the typical homeless population.

Adams has sought to restrict the charter buses, particularly those sent by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, bringing some of the migrants to the city: By executive order Adams has limited arrival times and required advanced notice, and he’s sued some of the charter bus operators.

Earlier this week, The Associated Press reported that the White House is considering invoking provisions of U.S. immigration law that had been used by the Trump administration to unilaterally enact a border crackdown.

The administration was “excited” and “encouraged” by the possibility, Williams-Isom said.

“It would certainly be welcome to New York City and other localities who never, ever, ever — ever — should have been dealing with this migrant crisis.”

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