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'We are just waiting:' Swelling number of NYC migrants ponder their futures as under new 30-day deadline

Rebecca White and Larry McShane, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

NEW YORK — Venezuelan migrant Yineth Palencia, mother of a 3-year-old girl, awoke Saturday morning to an uncertain future.

The 24-year-old landed in the Roosevelt Hotel after arriving in New York two months ago, and now fears the city’s new policy capping stays in shelters for single migrants at 30 days instead of 60 days will somehow leave her on the outside looking in. Palencia noted she was now past the 60-day mark, and said she had heard nothing specific about the reduction announced Friday.

“They haven’t really told us anything, but (there are) rumors,” she said. “We are just waiting.”

While migrants with children currently face no deadlines for staying in shelters, city government sources familiar with the issue told the Daily News the administration was pondering limits on families as well.

“We are here for a better future for our children,” said fellow Venezuelan Nazareth Rowena, 30, the mother of two boys and a girl who spent three months traveling before arriving in the city this past March. “Three days ago, we were told we are going to be leaving soon. I can’t work. I don’t know where I’m going … I’m afraid they’re going to send me back.”

The city was currently home to more than 60,000 migrants, with Mayor Eric Adams announcing a 30 consecutive-day limit Friday for single adults to retain their beds before they must leave the shelters. Those affected by the cap will receive “intensified casework services” to assist them in finding their own housing, either in New York or elsewhere, the mayor’s office said.


Eduardo Sanches, 30, arrived in New York on Friday night and registered shortly after midnight Saturday.

“They’re giving me one month to get out of this refuge, and then they’re going to to re-register us to see where we’re going to be sent,” he said. “Thirty days, and then we will be re-registered. I’m going to try and find a job … It takes time for us to get permission to work.”

The Adams administration’s plan to cut the length of stay in half drew a sharp rebuke Saturday from the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless.

“Pushing new arrivals who have nowhere else to turn out of the shelters risks dramatically increasing the number of people bedding down on the streets, something nobody wants to see happen,” read the joint statement from the two groups. “New York has long been a city that has welcomed immigrants with open arms and woven them into our societal fabric. With each day, this Administration, through policies such as these, erodes this long standing virtue that has defined and strengthened our city since its founding.”

The number of arriving migrants continues to swell every week, with Adams saying the new 30-day policy was needed to free up shelter space to handle the growing influx.

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