There is little hope for sanity among New York City’s Democrats on any given day, but the current migrant crisis appears to be creating a few cracks in the walls. We’ve covered the frequently inarticulate and largely ineffective attempts of Big Applay Mayor Eric Adams to deal with the crisis here at length. He still refuses to directly blame Joe Biden’s open border policies for his city’s travails, but he has instead continued to insist that the state and federal governments send him more money to house and care for the swelling army of migrants camping out in New York. This week, however, we may be reaching a breaking point. The Mayor has openly stated that the city needs to “limit” the “right to shelter” law that has placed them in this bind. As the New York Post editorial board argues this week, Adams needs to do more than “limit” the right to shelter. It needs to end. But at least this is a start.
Amid the migrant crisis, Mayor Eric Adams is looking to limit the “right to shelter” created 42 years ago in the Callahan v. Carey consent decree — but he should be looking to eliminate it completely.
Without question, the “right” is the central reason New York is spending far more per migrant than any other large city — nearly $40,000 a head here, vs. under $3,000 in Los Angeles and less than $7,000 in Chicago.
Heck, Gotham is spending more than four times more on migrants than the entire city budget of Miami, the No. 2 city for “asylum seeker” arrivals.
So where does this “right to shelter” come from? It’s not really a law as such. In fact, it doesn’t even appear in the state constitution in so many words. It’s based entirely on a court ruling in the early 80s. The original ruling actually only demanded that the city offer overnight shelter to “single vagrant men” (and later women) who had no other recourse to shelter. And it was based on a provision in the state constitution that makes the requirement “subject to the limitations on indebtedness and taxation, nothing in this constitution . . . shall prevent the legislature from providing for the aid, care and support of the needy.”
From that, an entire industry was created, dedicated to a demand that anyone who showed up would be given a roof and other support, despite the drain on the system. When it was “only” the city’s actual indigenous homeless population making such demands, it was an expensive but still generally manageable proposition. Now, of course, the rule is being applied to illegal aliens who show up in the tens of thousands after word spread along the border that “free stuff” was available in New York in limitless supply.
Well, it turns out that those “supplies” do have limits and they have been grossly surpassed. And none of this is actually codified in state or municipal law. There is an argument to be made here that Adams could simply shut down the shelters for anyone who hadn’t been a resident of the city (homeless or otherwise) prior to the illegal migrant invasion. There would no doubt be some lawsuits because even illegal aliens can find a lawyer who will be willing to go after the previously deep pockets of Gotham’s government. But the majority likely would not.
More importantly, word might start traveling back to the border among the illegal migrant community. ‘The gravy train has ground to a halt in New York City. People are being turned out and not given hotels. It’s no longer a free ride.’
And until Joe Biden and his ilk are driven from office (fingers crossed), that may be the best we can hope for. Perhaps the migrants will get the news and decide on another sanctuary city to invade. Perhaps… Los Angeles? And if this happens in enough cities, the message might finally start to break through. This is an invasion. And we have to take care of Americans in need, not those who chose to break our laws and accept Joe Biden’s invitation to invade our country.