20 NYC migrant shelters to face new 11 p.m. curfew, Adams’ office says

New York City plans to implement an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew at 20 more migrant shelters beginning Monday, Mayor Eric Adams’ office said Sunday.

The new curfew, introduced as anxiety rises about migrant crime, would apply to about 3,600 people, and would bring the number of asylum seeker shelters with curfews to 24. The city instituted curfews at four relief centers last month.

Among the 20 new shelters is a large relief center in Long Island City, Queens, that houses about 1,000 migrants, according to government data. Typical city homeless shelters already have curfews.

Kayla Mamelak, a City Hall spokeswoman, said in a statement that the broadening of the curfew “will allow for more efficient capacity management for migrants in the city’s care.”

The share of emergency shelters under the curfew is relatively small. Adams’ administration has opened more than 200 emergency shelters since waves of migrants began to arrive en masse in the city in spring 2022.

But the widening of the curfew rules comes after city officials publicly keyed on crimes linked to migrants, who can appear stuck in difficult straits without access to work.

A 15-year-old Venezuelan immigrant was accused of shooting a tourist and opening fire on a cop in Times Square on Thursday. Three days earlier, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said at a news conference that a “wave of migrant crime” has hit New York in recent months.

Others have pushed back on the suggestion that the roughly 66,000 asylum seekers in the city’s care are driving a significant increase in crime. Studies have found that immigrants are historically linked to significantly less criminal behavior than native-born Americans.

At a news conference in Brooklyn on Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul rejected the notion that migrants are driving a crime wave.

“We have 170,000 migrants who have come to the city. They are looking for a better life,” said Hochul, a Democrat. “Yes, there are isolated instances. But I would not characterize that as a massive crime wave.”

Earlier in the week, city Comptroller Brad Lander, a Democrat, said that the police commissioner’s remark about a migrant crime wave represented a baseless “Republican talking point.” Lander said Adams, who has also highlighted migrant crime, has engaged in “fear mongering.”

“Of course individuals who commit crimes should be held accountable,” the comptroller said in a Tuesday interview, but he added that “the evidence is clear” that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born residents.

Adams has said the “overwhelming” majority of the migrants are simply pursuing the American Dream. “They want to contribute to our society,” he said last week.

Many of the migrants in the city fled political and economic turmoil in Central and South America, and then headed for New York City, which has a unique rule requiring that those who need shelter receive it from the government.

Some residents have reportedly complained about migrants begging for money in neighborhoods near shelters.

“New York City continues to lead the nation in managing this national humanitarian crisis, and that includes prioritizing the health and safety of both asylum seekers in our care and New Yorkers who live in the communities surrounding the emergency shelters we manage,” Mamelak said in her statement.