Anne Williams-Isom, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services says about...

Anne Williams-Isom, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services says about 59,900 migrants are in the city’s care. Credit: Corey Sipkin

The head count of foreign migrants living in New York City homeless shelters has been relatively stable for almost a month — for the first time since the crisis began in Spring 2022 — even as 10,000 migrants continue to arrive into the city monthly, the Adams administration said Wednesday.

Currently about 59,900 migrants are in the city’s care, according to Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, who oversees the city’s migrant crisis response. The number has barely grown by a few hundred in total for several weeks. By contrast, it rose by almost 2,000 to 58,500 from 56,600 between late July and early August. 

Williams-Isom attributes the stability of the numbers to a strategy begun in the summer to serve eviction notices on adult migrants after 60 days in city-funded accommodations — families with children are exempt — and to counselors more aggressively encouraging migrants to find accommodations elsewhere.

“Our intensive case management, our reticketing, and our 60-day notices are working. People are finding other opportunities,” she said, although she did not say specifically where they may be going.

Since Spring 2022, over 113,300 migrants have come to New York City, mostly from Latin America but also from Africa and beyond, having crossed the southern U.S. border. The city has been forced to shelter, feed and otherwise care for the migrants under a decades-old and unique-in-the-nation shelter decree.

Migrants given eviction notices can apply again for shelter but must surmount bureaucratic hurdles anew.

In August, when Mayor Eric Adams said the crisis is forecast to cost the city $12 billion by the next fiscal year, a budget official said that the administration hoped the eviction policy would yield a "20 percentage reduction in census growth" of the shelter population.

The Adams administration has tried mostly unsuccessfully to relocate some migrants elsewhere in the state. No Long Island jurisdiction has agreed to take any.

Also Wednesday, the administration said that the city had helped migrants file 3,800 asylum applications to date. (One application can cover multiple members of a family.) Filing an application allows a migrant to apply for working papers 150 days later, said Masha Gindler, executive director of the city’s Asylum Seeker Application Help Center.

Gindler said that of the 150 or so migrants who have appointments daily for help filing asylum applications, about 2 or 3 decide not to file. The rest do.

Newsday reported in June that most asylum-seekers are unlikely to be granted asylum, due to the high bar imposed by U.S. law — persecution due to traits like race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

The immigration courts are backlogged by years, and regardless of the outcome, an unknown number of the migrants are expected to stay in the U.S. living illegally, based on past statistics.

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