Mayor Eric Adams voiced his concerns about the migrant crisis at a town hall gathering in Manhattan on Wednesday, September 6th, warning that it “will destroy” the city. He also emphasized the need for additional state and federal assistance to address the escalating numbers.
“Let me tell you something, New Yorkers. Never in my life have I faced a problem without seeing its end. With this crisis, I don’t see an ending,” Adams stated.
“This issue will destroy New York City,” he emphasized.
“We’re receiving 10,000 migrants a month. People from across the globe are deciding to journey through the southern border and arrive in New York City,” Adams elaborated.
Adams has found himself at odds with leading members of his party as NYC wrestles with the challenge of housing and aiding migrants.
He has criticized both state and federal governments for what he perceives as their inaction in supporting the city during this influx of asylum seekers. The mayor has consistently pushed for more funding and streamlined work permit processes.
Highlighting the city’s financial pressure, Adams pointed to projections that suggest a looming $12 billion budget deficit. This figure aligns with the city officials’ estimates of the potential costs the city might incur due to the migrant influx over the next three years.
“Every community in this city will feel the impact. Facing a $12 billion deficit means potential cuts to every service. Everyone will be affected,” Adams cautioned.
Amid escalating financial and logistical pressures, Adams has repeatedly sought President Joe Biden’s assistance. Last week, he pointed out that many of the city’s requests remain largely “unaddressed.”
Additionally, he has called for a federal emergency declaration and advocated for a national strategy to address border challenges.
Reasserting his concerns on Wednesday, Adams remarked, “We’re receiving no support for this national crisis. The city as we know it is under threat.”
In recent weeks, Adams has ramped up efforts to highlight the immediate and looming impacts of the crisis, leading rallies advocating for work permits and directing coordinated social media campaigns.
Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom: Right to shelter is “being used against us”
Similar to Mayor Adams’ concerns, the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Anne Williams-Isom, in a press briefing on Wednesday, September 6th, highlighted issues with the city’s right-to-shelter provision and its potential ramifications on the escalating numbers of migrants.
Williams-Isom stated, “Before, the right to shelter and what’s going on in New York City was like our little secret. Now the whole globe knows that if you come to New York City, we’re going to do what we always do. We have a big heart. We have compassion. We’re going to take care of people.”
Williams-Isom elaborated that while migrants might be situated elsewhere in the U.S., New York City’s reputation for care could influence their decision to come to the city.
She said, “While we love that, and we are so proud of that, I think in a way it’s being used against us.”
She expressed frustration, suggesting that cities like Chicago and Philadelphia might advise migrants to wait briefly before heading to New York City.
“That doesn’t seem fair to me, because then it puts us in a situation where we have to make impossible decisions,” she remarked.
She added, “There’s a wide-open front door right now.”
During the press briefing, the deputy mayor announced the opening of a new Humanitarian Relief Center at Austell Place in Long Island City, Queens, in response to the increasing numbers.
Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom emphasized the strain placed on the city, noting that over 112,000 migrants have arrived, with nearly 60,000 under the city’s care. New York City has opened 206 sites, including 15 humanitarian relief centers, to address this surge.
At least six buses with migrants arrived in New York City on Wednesday, September 6th.
She urged for a national response, calling for expedited work authorizations, additional financial support, a federal declaration of emergency, and a strategic plan on state and national levels to alleviate the city’s pressure.
“That is not sustainable,” Williams-Isom commented, “certainly can’t be sustained by the city alone.”
Talking about the feelings of city residents, she stated, “I also know that New Yorkers are frustrated and we feel like we’re almost in a way being taken advantage of, and we’re kind of at the end of our ropes.”
Addressing concerns surrounding migrant children and school placements, the deputy mayor promised solutions. “If there are a couple of first days of children not getting to the exact right place, we will figure it out, and they will be in a good place,” she reassured.