NYC Hosts 8th “Cities For Action” Convening On Asylum Seeker Response

December 4, 2023

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Manuel Castro today announced the convening of the eighth annual national Cities for Action (C4A).

It’s a two-day event hosted by New York City that is bringing together representatives from more than 20 cities to discuss the national asylum seeker humanitarian crisis. City leaders will participate in interactive panels and workshops to share best practices for managing the crisis and in advocating for additional federal support, such as providing cities with more financial resources, expediting work authorizations for additional recent arrivals, and enacting a national decompression and resettlement strategy.

“Since the founding of Cities for Action in 2014, immigration issues have only become more urgent. And in the 20 months since we began managing a national asylum seeker crisis almost entirely on our own, cities have been the ones to step up and lead the way,” said Mayor Adams. “As we continue to tackle the current humanitarian crisis, New York City is proud to host this convening of municipal leaders who are working on the frontlines and advocating for the federal government to finish the job they started by providing more financial and logistical support to cities across the country. As a city of immigrants, we look forward to continuing the work with our municipal partners to advance compassionate solutions on-the-ground and immigrant-inclusive policies nationwide.” 

New York City — and cities across the country — have done a nation’s work in responding to a national humanitarian crisis,” said Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack. “We’re excited to welcome our fellow municipal leaders to share best practices, learn from each other, and strengthen our coalition demanding action from our federal partners.”

“New York City has had tens of thousands of people come through our system within the last 20 months,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Cities across the country have been at the forefront of welcoming, serving, and helping migrants take the next steps in their journeys. We are excited to come together with our government partners from more than 20 municipalities over the next two days to continue sharing lessons learned, strengthen collaborative efforts, and drive advocacy for more federal support.”  

“It’s incredibly powerful to have so many city offices of immigrant affairs from across the nation come together in New York City this week,” said MOIA Commissioner Castro. “In a time where cities are leading the way in responding to the asylum seeker humanitarian crisis, it is timely we are coming together to strategize and advocate together on behalf of our cities and our immigrant communities.” 

C4A is a national coalition of nearly 200 U.S. mayors, county executives, and their local government representatives who advocate for pro-immigrant and inclusive immigration policies and programs that strengthen communities and families. At this year’s convening, New York City will be joined by 23 jurisdictions from across the country, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Santa Clara Counties, CA; Aurora and Denver, CO;  Miami-Dade County, FL; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Boston and Somerville, MA; Baltimore City and Baltimore County, MD; Saint Paul, MN; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, PA; Austin, Houston, and El Paso County, TX; and Seattle, WA.

The focus of the convening builds on the work of New York City’s Resettlement Working Group, bringing together experts and other city leaders to discuss advocacy, legal, and resettlement strategies to address the asylum seeker crisis that continues to impact a growing number of cities across the nation.

Since this humanitarian crisis began, more than 140,000 migrants have arrived in New York City seeking shelter. The city has taken fast and urgent action, launching application help centers to help new arrivals apply for asylum, work authorization, and Temporary Protected Status; opening over 210 emergency sites to provide shelter to asylum seekers, including 18 additional large-scale humanitarian relief centers; standing up navigation centers with support from community-based organizations to connect asylum seekers with critical resources; enrolling thousands of children in public schools through Project Open Arms; and more. Earlier this spring, the city released “The Road Forward: A Blueprint to Address New York City’s Response to the Asylum Seeker Crisis,” detailing how the city will continue to manage the influx of asylum seekers and advocate for support from federal and state partners.

“In partnership with the state and county, Chicago has welcomed over 23,000 new arrivals from the southern border since August 2022 and together, we have helped almost 10,000 individuals resettle in the area or reunite with friends and families in other cities,” said Chicago Deputy Mayor of Immigrant, Migrant and Refugee Rights Beatriz Ponce De León. “Chicago is currently providing shelter for 13,000 new arrivals in 26 temporary shelters across the city. But we cannot do this alone.  We call on our federal government to provide increased and flexible funding to Chicago and other resettlement cities.”

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