Violent incidents at NYC migrant shelters lead to calls for more security, revisions of sanctuary city law

Mayor Eric Adams says the city is installing metal detectors at the migrant shelter on Randall’s Island, and he is planning a visit to the site after another fight broke out at the shelter Monday night.

According to the NYPD, a 23-year-old migrant struck a security guard in the face, causing a scuffle. At least two migrants were placed under arrest and charged, but this marks the third violent incident to occur at this shelter in just the last several months. 

On Tuesday, Adams again renewed his call to the White House to give migrants faster access to work papers.

"You place 1,000 people in one setting and tell them they can't work, all they can do is sit around all day, tempers flare," Adams said.

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Adams is also making it clear that he wants to make changes to the sanctuary city laws.

Under Mayor Ed Koch and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the NYPD was allowed to alert ICE when a migrant was accused or arrested for allegedly committing crimes, according to the Adams administration.

However, now, migrants are only passed along to ICE if they have been convicted of a crime.


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Queens lawmakers say more migrants may soon be put up in the temporary shelter at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center on Hillside Avenue in Queens Village.

Immigration advocates are staunchly against this change, with a group of New York City public defenders, including the Legal Aid Society issuing a statement saying: "What Mayor Eric Adams seeks would result in local law enforcement being able to transfer New Yorkers merely suspected of a crime to ICE, upending local criminal court proceedings while perpetuating family separation and dividing communities," the group said. "Instead of attempting to gut these fundamental protections, causing terror among our immigrant neighbors and putting countless New Yorkers in danger of being separated from their families and deported without due process, Mayor Adams should be working to support pending measures to strengthen detainer laws."

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams also said recently she has no plans of introducing anything like this legislatively.

But Adams says migrants accused of committing multiple robberies should not be allowed to wait here while their case plays out.

"They didn't give due process to the person that they shot or punched or killed," Adams said. "We can’t have the small number of migrants and asylum seekers that have been identified that they're going to be dangerous, hide under the law."

An audit by the City Comptroller was also released on Tuesday – that showed the city has been overpaying at times for migrant services, due to the city procuring no-bid contracts.

For example, under a regular contract at a homeless shelter, the city will be charged less than 51 dollars for on-site leadership positions.

However, under an emergency contract for a migrant shelter, one company charged the city more than 139 dollars for the same role.

"What we're calling for now is to go through a procurement process that would make sure we get the most competitive price for all these services," City Comptroller Brad Lander said.

Adams defended the contracts on Tuesday saying they did the best they could at the time when these contracts were inked. 

"Because of our response, no child, no family sleeps on the streets of the city of New York," Adams said.

Adams says he did not meet with the president during his trip to the city but emphasized the need for President Joe Biden to issue some sort of executive order that would limit border crossings and create a decompression strategy.