New York‘s mayor has said the city has no more room for migrants, and that authorities will hand out flyers at the US border with Mexico encouraging them to go elsewhere.
More than 90,000 migrants, mainly from Central and South America, have arrived in the Big Apple since April last year, stretching services to breaking point.
“Our cup has basically runneth over. We have no more room in the city,” Eric Adams said during a news conference on Wednesday.
The influx has come as Republican-led states such as Texas transport migrants to Democratic-run areas to protest President Joe Biden’s immigration polices.
Almost 106,000 people, including some 54,000 migrants, currently live in New York City’s care, either in shelters or hotels, according to officials.
The flyer in English and Spanish will warn asylum seekers that housing in New York is “very expensive” and the cost of food, transportation, and other necessities “is the highest in the United States.”
“There is no guarantee we will be able to provide shelter and services to new arrivals,” it reads.
“Please consider another city as you make your decision about where to settle in the US.”
Adams said the city wanted people “to be faced with the real reality at the border, something that the federal government should be doing.”
He also announced that single adult migrants will have to reapply for shelter after 60 days to help free up space for families with children.
Adams said that the city would help migrants find alternative housing arrangements with friends, family and other networks.
“Our compassion is infinite. Our space is not,” said Ted Long, senior official at the agency that operates much of the emergency housing for migrants.
Adams, a Democrat, blamed the federal and state governments for not providing enough assistance.
“We cannot continue to absorb tens of thousands of newcomers on our own without the help of the state and federal government,” he told reporters.
New York City has long been a sanctuary city for migrants but Adams has been gradually trying to restrict the number of new arrivals.
Critics accused him of violating right-to-shelter laws which require the city to provide a bed to anyone who needs one.
The announcement “doesn’t just undermine the right-to-shelter, but the defining role of New York as a beacon of promise, inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty,” said city comptroller Brad Lander.
The New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union called the mayor’s plan “cruel” and “unlawful.”