New York

New York Takes a Harder Line on Migrants’ Right to Shelter

Good morning. It’s Tuesday. We’ll take a closer look at why new deadlines have made the future uncertain for some migrants in city shelters. We’ll also find out what Senator Robert Menendez said — and didn’t say — about the indictment that accused him of taking bribes.

Credit…Sara Hylton for The New York Times

New York City is applying new rules to migrants in homeless shelters as the shelter population continues to set record highs. I asked my colleague Andy Newman, who writes about social services and poverty in New York City, to explain:

As migrant asylum seekers have filled one city emergency shelter after another, Mayor Eric Adams has searched for ways to avoid having to house them without violating a decades-old court decree mandating that the city provide a bed to anyone who asks.

In July, the mayor set a 60-day limit on the amount of time adult migrants without children can stay at any one shelter. Any adult without children who wants to stay in a shelter after 60 days must go to a migrant “welcome center” and start the process over again. The city, which has also stepped up housing help, is hoping that the hassle of having to reapply will prompt more people to leave the shelters entirely.

Over the weekend, the first of those 60-day notices came due. Dozens of migrants who were immediately affected packed their belongings, left their shelters and returned to the welcome center at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Many were sent to “respite centers” — open-plan dormitories with dozens of beds or cots that are not meant to be any kind of home.

Adams also tightened the rule for adults who arrived on Friday or later, reducing the maximum shelter stay from 60 to only 30 days before they must reapply. “We have now reached a point where we are full and must take action to move people seeking asylum more quickly through our shelter system,” Anne Williams-Isom, the deputy mayor for health and human services, said.

The mayor is considering similar rules for families with children, the news outlet The City reported.

In a court hearing this afternoon, the city will also try to unwind the “right to shelter.” Last week, for the first time, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she agreed with Adams that the right to shelter should be suspended or altered.

“The original premise behind the right to shelter,” she said on CNN, “was for homeless men on the streets. People were experiencing AIDS. Then it was expanded to families. That is the right thing to do. But never was it envisioned that this would be an unlimited universal right or obligation on the city to have to house literally the entire world.”

Joshua Goldfein, a staff lawyer at the Legal Aid Society, said that the city had not done well at explaining the new timeline, causing “a lot of confusion.” He said that without clearer instructions, some migrants took the new limits to mean that they could not reapply for shelter once their 30 days had expired.


Weather

Prepare for rain and a high temperature around 60. In the evening, it will be mostly cloudy, and temps will dip to a low near 52.

ALTERNATE-SIDE PARKING

In effect until Sept. 30 (Sukkot).


The latest New York news

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Local news

  • Trump’s civil trial: Donald Trump has adopted a long-shot legal strategy to try to delay his upcoming civil trial and limit the case against him. The high-stakes battle is coming to a head this week.

  • Car insurance costs: If you live in New York State, look at the fine print in your auto insurance policy. Your premium may have risen — or may rise soon — because you were automatically enrolled in new coverage you may not need.

Arts and Culture

  • Departure: André Bishop, the producing artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater, will step down in 2025, ending a 33-year run.

  • Broadway unions: Actors’ Equity is seeking to unionize Broadway production assistants, one of the few nonunion segments of the industry work force.


Menendez says he won’t resign

Credit…Andrew Seng for The New York Times

He stood alone at a podium, a man in a blue pinstripe suit with a pinkish-red tie, facing a line of television cameras and a standing-room-only crowd of reporters. Behind him, against a wall, were what he called “everyday people and constituents who know me,” about two dozen in all.

Senator Robert Menendez spoke for about 25 minutes, first in English, then in Spanish. His message was defiant, a full-throated rebuttal to former allies who had called for his resignation in the wake of a federal bribery indictment. “To those who have rushed to judgment, you have done so based on a limited set of facts framed by the prosecution to be as salacious as possible,” he said.

He also said that “the allegations leveled against me are just that — allegations” and that “the court of public opinion is no substitute” for a court of law. Then Menendez, whose 2017 corruption trial on unrelated bribery charges ended in a mistrial, said, “Remember, prosecutors get it wrong sometimes — sadly, I know that.”

If Menendez was clear about not resigning, he was vague about whether he would seek re-election next year. He said only that he expected to be exonerated and that “I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator.”

For now, he declared, he remained “focused on doing the important work” he was elected to do, including avoiding a government shutdown. He turned and left without answering questions shouted by reporters about the gifts that prosecutors say he received as bribes, including gold bars and a Mercedes-Benz. He and his wife, Nadine Menendez, and three New Jersey businessmen, all of whom were named in the indictment, are expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Menendez, who urged patience “to allow all the facts to be presented,” attempted to explain why investigators found $550,000 in cash during court-authorized searches of his house last year. Much of the money was stashed in jackets or stuffed in envelopes.

He said he had a habit of making withdrawals from his bank accounts — “thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account” — and keeping the money at home — a throwback, he said, to his parents’ experience in Cuba.

“Now this may seem old-fashioned,” he said, but added that the money in the bank had come from “the income that I have lawfully derived.” He did not mention the gold bars that investigators found — more than $100,000 worth, according to the indictment, which also said that Menendez typed “how much is one kilo of gold worth” as he searched the internet.

No prominent elected leaders attended the event. Gov. Philip Murphy of New Jersey, who had been a close ally of Menendez, called for his resignation hours after the indictment was unsealed on Friday. Over the weekend, a steady drumbeat of statements followed from other Democratic officials in New Jersey, saying he should step down. By Monday, New Jersey’s other senator — Cory Booker, a Democrat and a friend of Menendez’s — was one of the few top political figures in New Jersey who had not spoken publicly about the charges.

At the White House, President Biden’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said that the decision about whether to step down was “going to be up to him and the Senate leadership.”

Menendez has proved to be a political survivor: After the 2017 mistrial, he was admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee and fended off a closer-than-expected primary race against a largely unknown Democratic challenger in 2018. But he went on to defeat the Republican candidate, Bob Hugin, a pharmaceutical executive who had spent more than $35 million of his own money on the campaign.


METROPOLITAN diary

The right spot

Dear Diary:

I was crossing the Bow Bridge in Central Park with my dog when I noticed two young women walking back and forth repeatedly from one spot to another.

A photographer was following them, so I figured there was going to be a proposal. I waited a few minutes, but nothing happened.

“If this a proposal,” I finally interjected, “what’s the holdup?”

They told me they couldn’t decide on the right spot.

“Where you are right now, that’s the right spot,” I said.

They looked at each other, one started to cry and they both pulled out rings.

I continued on, and I must have walked a quarter mile when I heard them running up behind me and yelling for me to stop.

They said they had been very nervous and didn’t know how long it would have taken them to decide if I hadn’t said something.

They asked if their photographer could snap a photo of the three of us, plus my dog.

— Sharyn Wolf

Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.


Yesterday’s newsletter misstated the title of a Netflix series in some references. It is “When They See Us,” not “The Way They See Us.” The headline misstated Linda Fairstein’s role in the Central Park Five case. She was the head of the Manhattan district attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit at the time but was not the prosecutor of the case in court.

Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. — J.B.

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.

Kellina Moore, Hurubie Meko and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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