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A Court Says Kathy Hochul Has to Shelter Migrants. Tish James Won’t Help Hochul Argue Otherwise

The Brooklyn-based James asked off the state's defense of doing little to help unsheltered migrants.

Last Wednesday, Eric Adams pulled off an abrupt about-face—he was no longer advising migrants not to come, but was now accepting the fact that New York City will continue to receive thousands of migrants each week for the near future. Instead, he focused his efforts on trying to get both federal officials and state leaders to help him out with both money and physical shelters, instead of just handing over one-time sums of money to help him fill a growing budget gap. 

On Thursday of last week, those efforts bore some fruit, but maybe not in the way anyone envisioned. Attorney General Tish James, whose office represents the state government in most judicial matters, took her office off the long-standing lawsuit that surrounds New York City's right-to-shelter law, which has now recently become a beacon to migrants the world over. Earlier this month, a state judge had advised the state that it would need to step up its efforts, and work with the city to come up with a plan for how the city and state could comply with its shelter responsibilities. 

The Times has reported that James begged off the case because she "had fundamental policy disagreements with the governor over the state’s role in managing the crisis," and that the Governor was worried that the court would compel more New York cities to help shelter migrants. The state has until tomorrow to respond to the city's proposal for more cooperation. 

While her new lawyers are working on that, the Governor has gone on the offensive, issuing a press release touting the state's ongoing commitment to helping migrants—including the $1 billion set aside by the legislature in this year's budget, the use of state-owned land for shelters, the use of National Guard personnel to staff some shelters, and a new plan to help some migrant families move upstate

At the same time the federal government has heeded Adams's call for more help... by sending former Labor secretary and current Biden advisor Tom Perez to the city for a round of meetings. This tells you quite a lot about how serious the prospects are for any actual federal support (slim). Case in point: The Federal Government is still refusing to budge on the possible use of Floyd Bennett Field as a shelter for migrants

The city, state, and advocates for unsheltered people are due back in court on Wednesday, without the state's Attorney General present. Without saying much, Brooklyn's James has made clear that she won't stand in the way of the city trying to get the help it needs. 

Some links to start your Monday: 

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