Mayor Eric Adams says asylum seeker crisis 'will destroy New York City'

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Friday, September 8, 2023
Mayor Eric Adams says asylum seeker crisis 'will destroy NYC'
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said that the ongoing migrant crisis "will destroy NYC" during a community meeting. Crystal Cranmore has the latest.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As asylum seekers and their families continue to arrive at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, recent comments from New York City Mayor Eric Adams are drawing reactions.

During a community meeting on the Upper West Side this week, Mayor Adams said that the ongoing migrant crisis "will destroy NYC."

"Never in my life have I had a problem that I didn't see an ending to, I don't see an ending to this," Adams said. "This issue will destroy New York City."

As more buses arrive at Port Authority, the mayor says the city is severely impacted by the influx of migrants and the city is not getting support from the federal government.

Adams said 110,000 asylum seekers have passed through New York City since April 2022 and the issue is creating a $12 billion budget deficit.

Republican leaders say the mayor is right. Following the comments, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said New York City deserves better. This comes as Republicans have been pushing for Adams to repeal NYC's sanctuary policies.

Adams said at one point the asylum seekers were coming from Venezuela, but now they are coming from Ecuador, Russian speakers are coming through Mexico as well as migrants from West Africa.

There was a show of support Thursday afternoon on Staten Island for migrants. Sonia Rincon has the latest.

While other cities have been seeing a growing number of migrant arrivals, New York City has become the epicenter of the crisis.

"The city we knew, we're about to lose, and we are all in this together, all of us," Adams said. "Staten Island is saying send them out to Manhattan, Manhattan is saying send them out to Queens, Queens is saying send them out to Brooklyn."

Adams has publicly called on Gov. Kathy Hochul and President Joe Biden for help with the ongoing crisis.

Hochul said during a discussion Thursday that the state cannot "house the entire world" and said the answer lies in Washington. She said she has not ruled out a special legislative session to address the surge.

Central to what Adams is asking for is expediting work authorizations, so that people who are already in New York City would be able to get legal jobs and wouldn't be forced to rely on the social safety net.

But the process for applying for asylum and a work permit is based on current immigration laws, which require a 150-day waiting period to apply for work authorization and an additional 30 days to be eligible for approval - and in recent years, it's made more difficult because of an immense backlog.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration has been working with city and state leaders and has provided $140 million this year.

The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless called the mayor's "dystopian comments" Wednesday night "reckless and unproductive fear mongering."

"Mayor Adams' remarks that the influx of new arrivals 'will destroy New York City' are reckless and unproductive fear-mongering," the groups said in a joint statement. "His dystopian comments dehumanize and villainize people who fled unimaginable situations in their home countries merely for an opportunity to provide for their families and secure a better life. This dangerous rhetoric is something you'd expect from fringe politicians on the far-right of the political spectrum, not from the mayor of a city that has always welcomed and celebrated its diverse and critically important immigrant community."

Washington, DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles are among a host of other cities grappling with arrivals.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.

ALSO READ | Erie County stops accepting migrants from New York City after security concerns


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