NYC Mayor Adams details plan at mayor's conference in DC to address migrant crisis

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Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Adams details plan on migrant crisis at mayor's conference in DC
NYC Mayor Eric Adams spoke about his experience in El Paso and attempted to unify cities impacted by the migrant crisis. Lauren Glassberg has the story.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WABC) -- Mayor Eric Adams attended a conference in D.C. Wednesday, where he presented other mayors, whose cities are impacted by the migrant surge, with a plan to deal with the influx.

The key components included naming a dedicated point person to oversee the asylum seekers, offering a "decompression strategy" to fairly distribute migrants regionally, and expediting right-to-work options for asylum seekers.

Adams says it's simply not fair for the cities to be left to deal with this crisis alone.

"Today I'm calling for a national response to the asylum seeker crisis," Adams said.

He talked about his experience in El Paso this past weekend in one of the sessions of the America Conference of Mayors.

"What I saw was not a state or city problem, it's a national problem," Adams said.

In Texas, Adams met migrants, visited a shelter, and spoke with city leaders and border agents. He received a firsthand look at just how dire the situation along with southern border is.

"We're going to fight so that you can experience the American dream," he said.

That was his promise to a group of migrants gathered outside a church as El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser showed him around.

Adams says that the resources required to make that promise a reality are simply not coming in quickly enough to keep up with the flood of migrants that make a beeline to New York.

Many asylum seekers from El Paso have been showing up to Port Authority on buses. This has left city leaders scrambling to keep up with the unprecedented need for resources to help them.

The state has responded to some of Adams' requests, but Governor Kathy Hochul and the mayor both agree the federal government needs to step up.

The city has spent $300 million and so far, he's asked the federal government for $2 billion to help with the migrant influx, but the state will get far less from a federal grant.

"This is wrong. This is wrong. And for the federal government, and that is on both sides of the aisle, to not acknowledge that we are destabilizing our cities. I'm not going to remain silent on that. This is wrong for the cities of America to take this on," Adams said.

The number of migrants coming into NYC has not slowed, even though border cities like El Paso have seen a decrease in asylum seekers as the Supreme Court weighs Title 42.

More than 40,000 migrants have arrived in the city since last April, overwhelming the shelters and forcing the mayor to declare a state emergency last year.

Adams said everything remains on the table, including housing the migrants on cruise ships.

"And if it means using cruise ships, if it means finding space on state land, in my conversation with the governor, we are going to continue to pivot and shift to address the influx of migrants and asylum seekers we are seeing, nothing is left off the table," Adams said.

As Adams spoke in Washington on Wednesday, there was a celebration of immigrants in Lower Manhattan with the unveiling of Immigrant Heritage Plaza.

"This plaza will serve as a reminder and sacrifices of all immigrants that have lived and worked and helped this great city," said Manuel Castro, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.

The dedicated plaza symbolizes New York City, a melting pot and a starting point for many immigrants.

Adams is working with mayors across the country - even those who are not "directly impacted" by the migrant crisis - to "join us" helping turn up the pressure on the administration and Congress.

For example, Kansas City's mayor offered to be "part of the solution" -- even though he isn't seeing a flood of asylum seekers.

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