On Tuesday, February 6, Mayor Eric Adams made a compelling appeal to New York State lawmakers, urging them to cover half of New York City’s burgeoning costs associated with sheltering migrants. During his annual budget trip to Albany, known as “Tin Cup Day,” Adams highlighted the city’s financial strain under the weight of an ongoing migrant crisis, exacerbated by what he perceives as insufficient federal support.
Adams’ request comes as the city grapples with the financial implications of hosting tens of thousands of migrants. With an estimated expenditure of $10 billion through June 2025, the mayor’s plea underscores the dire need for additional state funding to manage the crisis effectively. Despite Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal, which includes $4.3 billion in state aid for migrant housing and legal costs, Adams argues that the city requires more to sustain its support for the migrant population.
Adams said, “New Yorkers are already carrying most of the asylum-seeker costs. It is wrong to ask them to do more, and it puts our city in a precarious position.”
He continued, “Today, we are asking the state to increase its commitment and cover at least 50% of our costs.”
The mayor’s testimony in Albany reflects a broader challenge facing cities across the United States as they navigate the complexities of providing for migrants amidst varying levels of federal assistance. Adams criticized the Biden administration for allocating only $156 million to New York City, a fraction of the total cost projected for the migrant crisis. This financial shortfall has prompted Adams to seek a more equitable distribution of expenses between the city, state, and federal government.
Critics of Adams’ approach, including state lawmakers and city comptroller Brad Lander, have voiced concerns about the implications of shifting more financial responsibility to the state. Some argue that this move could inadvertently signal a reduced emphasis on securing federal aid. However, Lander has expressed support for the mayor’s proposal, calling it “entirely reasonable” given the current political deadlock in Congress over immigration reform.
In regards to the federal aid, Adams said, “The feds never gave their third, so we’re getting 70% of the burden…Despite our efforts, we cannot assume they will give us any more.”
Adams continued, “That was the decision that was made here in Albany, that we would divide it in three ways. We never thought we would get a third from the federal government.”
As Mayor Adams navigates the political and financial challenges of the migrant crisis, his call for increased state support highlights the ongoing debate over sanctuary city policies, federal immigration reform, and the allocation of resources to address the needs of migrants. The outcome of Adams’ appeal to Albany could set a precedent for how cities and states collaborate to manage similar crises in the future.