Adams Calls for Federal Aid in Tackling Migrant Crisis

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Migrant Crisis

Mr. Adams’ response to the influx of migrants arriving in New York City by bus has been a continual tide and flow of strategy and rhetoric. Mr. Adams has maintained that migrants should be permitted to work legally in the city more quickly because the city has supplied shelter, food, clothes, and schools to thousands of migrants and their children.

Migrant Crisis
New York City Mayor Eric Adams in Manhattan on December 12, 2022 in New York City. [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

Demand for Migrant Aid Swells

MEXICO CITY — EL PASO Mayor Eric Adams, more than 2,000 miles away in Texas, told a group of migrants outside a church on Sunday that he would fight for their right to work and “live the American dream.”

The audience applauded and cheered as the mayor’s remarks were translated into Spanish.

Despite his cheerful message, the mayor’s journey to the southern border was difficult since he was attempting to urge President Biden to assist New York City in dealing with the influx of migrants. Yet, despite his sympathy for individuals whose lives have been turned upside down, he insists they no longer visit his city.

One of Mr. Adams’s most pressing issues as mayor is the refugee crisis. The previous year’s influx of over 40,000 people put New York City’s budget and homeless shelter system to the test.

Mr. Adams finally made it to the border after weeks of calling the federal government to visit for additional assistance. Then, one week after President Biden pledged a new crackdown on border crossings during his visit to El Paso, he made the same journey.

The number of illegal border crossers is at an all-time high. In the 12 months before October 2021, there were 1.7 million illegal border crossers, the highest number since 1960.

Mr. Adams, a Democrat in his second year in office, crammed a lot into his 24-hour journey to El Paso while trying to keep as much of it out of the spotlight as possible. Reporters were only admitted to one event, Mr. Adams’s news conference on Sunday, where he asked for federal help for sanctuary cities.

“Our cities are being weakened; we do not deserve this,” he remarked. “We demand more from our national leaders to take this seriously.”

Mr. Adams said he would travel to Washington this week to continue his campaign. He urged Mr. Biden to pick a Federal Emergency Management Agency leader to supervise a national response to the crisis.

Mr. Adams cautioned on Friday that the city could spend up to $2 billion on migrant services, a significant rise from previous forecasts. When asked how much he anticipated the government to pay on Sunday, Mr. Adams answered, “the entire amount.”

On Sunday, New York’s comptroller, Brad Lander, claimed the mayor’s trip accomplished little financially and “risked promoting a damaging notion that new immigrants themselves are a problem.”

Migrant Crisis
Migrants hoping to seek asylum gathered along the border in El Paso, Texas, last month.Credit. [Paul Ratje for The New York Times]

‘The inn is full’

Democratic councilman Brad Lander stated that immigrants have been “the driving force for New York City’s success for generations” rather than “undermining” it.

Mr. Adams met with El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser on Saturday, and Leeser showed him where migrants frequently cross the border and where people sleep in tents.

Mr. Adams’ spokesperson, Fabien Levy, stated that the next day, Mr. Adams met with Mr. Leeser (Democrat) and visited Sacred Heart Church, a migrant refuge.

Mr. Levy tweeted, “The problem is that these migrants are being promised things before crossing the border that are simply unavailable.”

While in the United States, Mr. Adams protested a Customs and Border Protection facility and a memorial at the Walmart where 23 people were killed in a mass shooting earlier this year.

However, there have been times when the mayor had taken a tough stance, such as when he called on Mr. Biden to stop the flow of migrants at the border and warned shortly after Christmas that there was “no more room at the inn” in New York for any more migrants. Mr. Adams has cautioned that changes to vital city services may be required as the city’s economic troubles deepen.

He announced that 800 migrants had come in one day and that the city could not accept any more. On a Sunday, he stood by his statement.

“New York can’t take it any longer,” he declared. We just can’t do it.

To give Democratic-led cities like New York, Washington, and Chicago a taste of the border crisis, Republican officials in Florida and Texas sent a stream of people who had crossed the southern border seeking asylum to those cities in the spring.

Mr. Adams alleged in an interview aired on Friday that the Biden administration was overburdening cities like New York.

“We did what any New Yorker would do,” he said, “we provided for them not only accommodation, a place to sleep, food, and health care; we educated a significant number of children, and we are also providing the necessary mental health treatment that is needed.” This was spoken about the 36,000 people who had appeared “on our doorsteps.”

But, he stressed, “we need help.”

Migrant Crisis
Migrants board MTA busses to be transported to a Hotel after NYC Mayor Adams announced the temporary housing unit would be closed indefinitely: November 15, 2022 [Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Mr. Adams traveled to El Paso with only a few of his closest aides, including his new chief of staff, Camille Joseph Varlack, his commissioner for emergency management, Zachary Iscol, and his immigrant relations commissioner Manuel Castro. While Mr. Iscol managed the construction of a massive migrant shelter on Randalls Island, which has since closed, Mr. Castro greeted newcomers at Manhattan’s Port Authority Bus Terminal.

When word spread that El Paso’s mayor would visit Sacred Heart Church on a recent Sunday, a group of about 40 migrants gathered outside. While waiting for him, one woman clutched a swaddled infant, and another fed a toddler rice and beans. Then, in a public forum, someone asked if his objective for being there was to offer migrants the necessary documents to travel to the United States and make their way to New York.

Mr. Adams stopped to talk with them and asked one of them how he learned so much about New York.

The man responded in Spanish, “Only in movies and television,” which brought laughter from the mayor.

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