Heard Around Town

As migrant families receive 60 day eviction notices, advocates rally to ditch the policy

Thousands of families will be asked to start reapplying for shelter starting Tuesday.

Asylum-seekers line up outside the Roosevelt Hotel intake center in September.

Asylum-seekers line up outside the Roosevelt Hotel intake center in September. Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Monday morning, a slew of advocates, New York City Council members, Comptroller Brad Lander, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams are expected to gather at Foley Square to protest the first wave of migrant families having to reapply for a shelter placement under a controversial new policy limiting their stays to 60 days.

Of the roughly 4,800 migrant families who have received eviction notices so far, thousands will take effect Tuesday, Jan. 9 – roughly a week after the original deadline, which the city opted to push back to after the holidays. More waves of notices are slated to take effect in the weeks to come.

Beyond spreading awareness about the looming deadline that’ll force families into the cold to reapply for a new bed, Monday’s rally is aimed at further increasing pressure on Mayor Eric Adams to rescind the policy – or at the very least provide greater clarity on how implementation is going to work.

“The imminence of this is key now because by this point, days before this is going to happen there should be substantial details of how this is going to work out, and there’s been nothing,” said Liza Schwartzwald, director of economic justice and family empowerment at the New York Immigration Coalition. “We have nothing to tell families about what to expect. We don’t even know if they are going to be on the streets or if they’re going to figure something out by then.

The 60-day policy has ignited a wave of concerns since Adams first announced it in October. Educators, immigrant advocates and many elected officials fear that the change will compound the trauma that many of the tens of thousands of migrant children enrolled in New York City schools endured to get to the United States. Absenteeism rates – already especially high for homeless students – is another thing that critics worry will grow as a result as many migrant families will face a difficult choice once the deadline takes effect: Whether they’ll stay in their current school if they are reassigned to a distant shelter or if they’ll transfer, shattering the stability they’d found with teachers, classmates and the surrounding school community. 

“We cannot claim to be a city that supports immigrants while we force newly arrived families outside in the freezing cold for a bed,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif, chair of the Immigration Committee and one of the speakers for Monday’s rally. “The mayor’s callous 60 and 30-day rules are aimed at causing chaos and making our City unbearable for asylum-seekers to seek shelter in.”

So far, 60-day notices have only been distributed to families staying in a type of shelter known as Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers, but advocates fear the Adams administration could soon extend it to all shelters housing migrants.