Several Democratic mayors from major United States cities are pressing President Joe Biden for an immediate meeting to address the escalating migrant crisis.
Mayor Eric Adams, along with Mayors Karen Bass of Los Angeles, Brandon Johnson of Chicago, Sylvester Turner of Houston, and Mike Johnston of Denver, emphasized in a bold request the need for “an urgent meeting” with Biden to find solutions and obtain support for their cities amidst the increasing influx of asylum seekers.
In a letter, the mayors urged President Biden to provide extra federal funding to alleviate the costs of housing and social services for new arrivals, expedite work paper approvals, broaden work eligibility for migrants, and establish a “coordinated entry and distribution process of newcomers once they arrive.”
They expressed their belief in a unique opportunity to collaborate with the White House and Congress to create an immigration and asylum system that upholds dignity and fairness.
“Given the urgency of this issue, we are all willing to travel to DC next week to sit down and discuss our shared interest in finding a successful resolution,” the mayors stated.
The mayors are advocating for $5 billion in funding to manage the influx of migrants in their cities.
The situation has become critical, with Chicago witnessing migrants taking shelter in police station entrances and New York converting a cruise ship terminal into a temporary refuge.
Denver has seen a tenfold increase in migrant arrivals, with diminishing space to accommodate them. The limited availability of work authorizations has left many migrants unable to secure employment and proper housing.
Mayor Johnston, spearheading this coalition, highlighted the dilemma, saying, “The crisis is we have folks here who desperately want to work. And we have employers here who desperately want to hire them. And we have a federal government that’s standing in the way of employers who want to hire employees who want to work.”
Chicago Mayor Johnson continued, “The federal government has to do more.”
The letter, dated October 28th, underscores the growing frustration among the nation’s largest Democratic cities with Biden’s response to the migrant waves from Central and South America, many seeking asylum due to violence and poor economic conditions.
New York City alone has seen over 133,000 arrivals since the crisis began last spring. Adams’ recent trip to Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia, aimed at discouraging migration, faced criticism for its limited impact.
New York City anticipates the crisis could cost an estimated $12 billion between 2023 and 2025, potentially leading to a 15% reduction in city-funded programs.
This financial strain has turned Adams, a former Biden ally, into one of the president’s most vocal critics. The federal government has provided or pledged about $142 million in aid, in contrast to the $1 billion allocated by state lawmakers in Albany.
While Mayor Adams did leave New York City to fly to Washington, D.C. to meet with the other mayors, upon landing, Adams caught another flight to return to the city after news of the FBI raiding the home of his 2021 campaign fundraiser Brianna Suggs. The aforementioned mayors arrived in Washington, D.C., and pushed for the federal government to provide $5 billion in aid to cities struggling with the migrant crisis.