New York—On Tuesday, December 19 at 4PM, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), United Federation of Teachers, along with elected officials, education allies, asylum seeking families, and immigrant New Yorkers held a children’s March and a press conference at City Hall Park, urging Mayor Adams to stop attacking the city’s right to shelter mandate. Advocates demanded that the city eliminate the shelter notices for families and instead prioritize the safety and well-being of asylum-seeking children and their families living in the city’s shelter system.
Currently, the City is planning to move families who received the 60-day notice in early January. As New York City continues to brace for the colder months, the choice to push immigrant families living in shelters onto the streets in the winter will derail their path to self-sufficiency and independence while disrupting classrooms and school budgets across the city.
The rally was streamed on Facebook Live
Photos and videos are available here
“Enacting and implementing the 60-day rule is a monumental failure by the Administration to manage shelter for asylum seekers. Forcibly uprooting families from shelter every two months will have a traumatic impact on children seeking asylum, will disrupt student learning, and hinder social and academic development. This policy jeopardizes the welfare of families who deserve stability and security as they adjust, adapt, and rebuild their new lives as New Yorkers,” said NYC Comptroller Brad Lander.
"New York City is known to be the home of immigrants and we must continue to lead on that promise. Mayor Adam’s Administration cannot move forward with this egregious 60-Day shelter policy that will destabilize our students and families. Now more than ever, we must lead with compassion, care, and empathy especially when it comes to our youngest New Yorkers. The youth have always led the way and I am incredibly proud to join them as we fight for better conditions," said Council Member Rita Joseph, Committee on Education Chair, District 40.
“We cannot move these families. It is wrong on so many levels,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer, Oversight Committee Chair, District 6. “No children in public schools should have their education disrupted. Schools are stabilizing and supportive for children and their parents. Stability and support are exactly what these families need.”
“The city’s right to shelter has provided stability and safety for vulnerable New Yorkers in their journey towards self-sufficiency. Mayor Adams’ continuous attacks on the right to shelter will force families and children out of shelters, destabilizing them, exposing them to danger, and have long-lasting effects. As a result, it will disrupt children’s education as their families struggle to navigate the city’s complex system. Prioritizing permanent housing will provide vulnerable families the opportunity to thrive, which is crucial for children’s mental and physical health. Instead, Adams continues to enforce his inhumane policies, going against cost-effective solutions, and leaving families and children to pick up the pieces. No child’s education should be at risk due to their living conditions. We urge the Adams administration to recognize the importance of permanent housing for vulnerable New Yorkers and eliminate all bureaucratic measures that prevent them from living with dignity,” said Liza Schwartzwald, Director of Economic Justice and Family Empowerment, New York Immigration Coalition.
“To disrupt every classroom and damage the learning community being built with and for each immigrant student and his/her family is incredibly self-defeating. It hurts the newest New Yorkers, their families, their teachers and all the other children with whom they are at school. We need case management in place of evictions, helping families in shelters find housing without moving out of their homes and schools,” said Ruth Messinger, Global Ambassador, American Jewish World Service.
“Stability is the cornerstone of child development. This short term solution that will upend what little stability these families have will have lasting consequences on these children and our communities. It's shameful,” said Lindsay Hockaday, Instructor, Fifth Avenue Committee.
“In the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, our communities have diligently undertaken the task of rebuilding. The recent influx of migrant families presents a unique opportunity for unity. However, the collaborative efforts of our committees face imminent jeopardy under the constraints imposed by the Mayor's 60 Day Rule. This rule threatens to unravel the progress we've made, transforming our schools and neighborhoods into a disconcerting revolving door. I earnestly implore you to exempt families with children in NYC Public Schools from the constraints of the 60 Day Rule. These families are integral to the very fabric of our community, and their children form vital connections that enrich our collective experience,” said Gina Cirrito, Founder, Mañana Otro Día.
"As healthcare providers taking care of children and families, we recognize the crucial importance of stability and continuity in healthcare and educational environments. Continuity of care with a provider a family knows and trusts is essential for maintaining early childhood health and preventing the development of chronic medical conditions that affect the entire life course. Unfortunately, the Mayor's 60-day limit to shelter stays makes that continuity impossible. Forcing families to vacate their shelter and reapply, possibly to be placed in shelters in another neighborhood or borough would greatly limit any chance new New Yorkers have in getting established in regular primary care, making it that much harder for them to access health care in the future. The 60-day rule must be repealed for the health and wellbeing of all New Yorkers," said Marc Shi, MD, New York Doctors Coalition.
“The 60-day rule disrupts classrooms just as newly arrived students are learning well together with their long term New Yorker classmates. The impact goes beyond individual families being forced to vacate. Schools are seeing a revolving door of students, leading to an interruption of instruction and community building, as well as staffing and budget volatility. This chaos makes local families reconsider their public school options. Our schools are just beginning to stabilize after the public health crisis and any upheaval from students exiting the system is gratuitous and unnecessary. Do not evict our new New Yorker families — instead provide permanent housing solutions and a path towards self-sufficiency,” said Naveed Hasan, Founder, No Limits Learning.
"At today's children's march, a broad coalition of New Yorkers--led by students and migrant families themselves--rallied against the 60-day shelter stay limits established by the Mayoral administration. Limiting shelter stays breaks community ties and leads to confusion, undue administrative burden, and additional trauma for a group already under intense constraints. We have seen the devastating effects of shelter limits among adult asylum-seekers, and extending these impacts to families with children would further destabilize a faltering shelter system," said Bennett Reinhardt, Advocacy Coordinator & Neighborhood Organizer, Open Hearts Initiative. "We call on Mayor Adams to immediately rescind all shelter stay limit notices issued to families with children, stop issuing these notices, and dedicate those resources to more productive ends, like applications for asylum and work authorization."
“Kicking families out of shelter every two months is one of the most dangerous and damaging policies the City could ever implement to address the migrant and homelessness crises. Nothing positive will come from forcing families out of the only stability they have every two months, displacing children from the schools they were just beginning to grow comfortable in, and moving around the resources families need to exit shelter — instead, this will only worsen New York City’s homelessness crisis and create more trauma for those who have already endured too much. With all signs pointing to the City forcing families into dangerous congregate settings next, I urge the Adams administration to reverse course and stop pursuing policies that are counter to who we are as New Yorkers and what New York City needs,” said Christine C. Quinn, President and CEO, Win Inc.