New York mayor says migrant influx will 'destroy' city

08 Sep 2023 12:44pm
New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks during the New York Democratic Party 2022 state Nominating Convention, in New York on February 17, 2022. - FILE PIX by AFP
New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks during the New York Democratic Party 2022 state Nominating Convention, in New York on February 17, 2022. - FILE PIX by AFP

NEW YORK - Eric Adams, the Democratic mayor of New York, sounded the alarm this week over the financial strain his city faces as thousands of asylum seekers arrive each month -- many sent by Republican governors after crossing the southern US border.

"This issue will destroy New York City," Adams said Wednesday evening at a public meeting where he responded to residents' questions.

He said 10,000 migrants are arriving each month "from all over the globe" and that 110,000 people have shown up since Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, began sending migrants to New York aboard buses.

"We have to feed, cloth, house, educate the children, wash their laundry sheets, give them everything they need, healthcare," he said.

In addition to New York, Abbott has been sending migrants to other cities governed by Democrats, including Washington and Los Angeles.

Other Republican governors, and some Democrats, have followed suit and began transporting migrants out of their jurisdictions.

Sending migrants to Democratic strongholds has become a political cudgel for the American right as a means of denouncing President Joe Biden's immigration policy, which they say has allowed undocumented migrants to cross the border with Mexico in large numbers.

City leaders however say that their support systems have not been set up to receive such large numbers of migrants.

Mayor Adams, a Black former police officer who hails from the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, estimated last month that providing support services to the incoming migrants at $12 billion over three years.

"New Yorkers' compassion may be limitless, but our resources are not," he said in early August.

While describing Abbott as a "madman," Adams on Wednesday also repeated complaints that the federal government currently under his party's control was not adequately addressing the issue.

"We're getting no support on this national crisis and we're receiving no support," the mayor said.

Homeless and migrant advocates condemned the remarks by Adams, with two groups calling them "reckless and unproductive fear-mongering."

"This dangerous rhetoric is something you'd expect from fringe politicians... not the mayor of a city that has always welcomed and celebrated its diverse and critically important immigrant community," the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless said in a joint statement Thursday.

The governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, visited Washington in late August to discuss the issue, including with White House officials.

Hochul and Adams have called for the federal government to speed up work authorizations for the asylum seekers.

"Thousands of jobs are available to be filled, to provide the services we need in the city," Adams said last month. - AFP