New York City considering possible curfew for migrants in shelters

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Monday, January 15, 2024
Immigrants run in the rain towards the tents at migrant housing location at Floyd Bennett Field, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, in New York.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There could soon be a curfew put in place for migrants in New York City shelters.

During a conference call with local lawmakers this week, Councilwoman Joann Ariola of Queens asked if the administration is considering a curfew at its asylum seeker locations like Floyd Bennett Field, Randall's Island and the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.

The question comes amid reports that shelter residents have been going out at night and panhandling or knocking on doors to ask for food, money and clothes.

A homeowner in Belle Harbor, Queens, said she has video have a woman and child ringing her doorbell and showing a translation on her phone identifying herself as a migrant in need of money.

Paul King, the president of the Property Owner's Association, said the neighborhood is now seeing an influx in panhandling.

"Some of it is from people coming up on their porches, using their kids as props, aggressively panhandling, people essentially even coming in the house," King said.

Ariola believes the isolation and less than favorable conditions at Floyd Bennett Field are now driving some asylum seekers into surrounding areas -- with some of the panhandling happening late at night.

The city says it is now considering adding the same curfew that homeless shelters have to the migrant shelters.

"The number one thing that the administration has to do is keep the public safe," Ariola said. "And the way to keep the public safe is to have control over whatever additional population comes into our communities."

The Adams administration told her they would consider it and released the following statement:

"Our traditional DHS shelters have a curfew system and some communities and elected officials have asked us to explore this option for our migrant shelters. We are considering all options."

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to allocate additional funds to the crisis.

"We need to be giving access to these folks to make a livelihood, have access to resources that they can earn on their own or in their keep, these folks are really just looking for an opportunity but a curfew is not the way to do that," said Bronx Assemblymember Amanda Septimo.

The governor says the shifting number of migrants coming in is causing challenges to state aid.

"It's an imprecise prediction because the mayor doesn't know, we don't know," Hochul said.

The city's estimate for what it needs from the state through fiscal year 2025 to deal with the crisis has dropped from $12 billion to $10 billion. However, Septimo says the state hasn't met its commitment of $1 billion in the current fiscal year so she says the governor should be prioritizing giving as much as the state can.

ALSO READ | Parents, lawmakers rally after migrants sleep on high school floor during storm

Joe Torres has the story.


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