By Jeff Coltin
NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Eric Adams made some of his strongest comments yet on his concerns about the unending flow of migrants coming to the city, warning it will upend neighborhoods and continue to strain resources.
“Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this,” Adams said Wednesday night.
Adams, a Democrat, was speaking at a town hall organized by his office on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. His opening remarks lamented the financial impact of the city’s efforts to house and serve more than 100,000 migrants over the last year.
“This issue will destroy New York City. … All of us are going to be impacted by this. I said it last year when we had 15,000, and I’m telling you now at 110,000. The city we knew, we’re about to lose,” he continued.
Republicans praised Adams, jumping off his words to promote the party’s position of reducing immigration and knocking the White House for not doing more.
“The first step towards solving a problem is admitting you have one. Credit to Mayor Adams for being truthful in this clip about the scope of NYC’s migrant crisis,” Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Now, he must repeal NYC’s sanctuary policies & President Biden must reinstate Remain in Mexico to help solve it.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has also seized Adams’ ongoing comments that the Biden administration and the state need to do more to help migrants find work and provide more aid to the city. Republicans are already making the migrant issue in New York a campaign issue heading into the 2024 elections in key House races.
“It has gotten so bad, even the leaders of Democrat strongholds like New York City and Massachusetts are throwing in the towel,” McCarthy said in a statement Tuesday. “They can’t handle the strain that the massive influx of people has had on their city and state.”
The mayor has long pointed to the recent wave of migration as a financial burden to the city, and one of the reasons he has had to order multiple rounds of budget cuts to city agencies.
The direct impact on city services so far has been limited, with most of the savings coming from eliminating unfilled positions and re-estimates of health care spending.
But Adams suggested there would be further cuts in the upcoming budget cycle.
“We have a $12 billion deficit that we’re going to have to cut,” he said. “Every service in this city is going to be impacted.”
Adams has repeatedly called for more federal funding, saying that asylum-seeking migrants coming to the city should not just be New York’s problem.
He has called out Biden directly, leading to tension between the two Democrats. That hasn’t gotten Adams great results.
The city has received about $140 million in federal funds, while spending about $1.5 billion in the last fiscal year on housing and serving migrants.
City Hall expects spending to escalate rapidly, to $4 billion over the current year. Adams has also called for a “decompression strategy” at the border to slow migration to New York and for the White House to expedite work permits for asylum-seekers, so they could legally make an income and provide for themselves.
But later in the night, when a resident at the town hall was despairing about the state of the city, Adams was back to his usual confident self.
“Don’t be consumed by the enormity of the problems that we’re facing,” he said. “There’s not one day that I don’t wake up and say, ‘We got this.’”