NEW YORK (WABC) — Despite it being thousands of miles away from NYC, Mayor Eric Adams visited El Paso, Texas, the epicenter of the city’s migrant crisis.
The mayor said this crisis is driving the city to its breaking point.
“Last week, we received 3000. One day, 800. The strain on our infrastructure is just immense,” Adams said. That marked the largest single-day arrival since the influx of migrants began.
Adams said that providing services to asylum seekers could cost the city between $1.5 billion to $2 billion.
The mayor traveled to El Paso this weekend in order to witness firsthand the issue at the southern border.
His latest appeal for help with asylum seekers has been to the state and federal governments for emergency mutual aid.
“Based off our projections, we anticipate being unable to continue sheltering arriving asylum seekers on our own and have submitted an emergency mutual aid request to the State of New York beginning this weekend,” Adams said. “This type of request, reserved only for dire emergencies, asks the state for support to shelter arriving asylum seekers as the city faces an immediate need for additional capacity. Our initial request is for shelter to accommodate 500 asylum seekers, but, as New York City continues to see numbers balloon, this estimate will increase as well.”
The governor’s office also released a statement saying in part, “It will continue to work with the mayor and review his request,” but says, “the federal government must do more to help with the crisis.”
The mayor says providing services to asylum seekers will cost billions and his budget for the next fiscal year did not include city resources for them, despite housing thousands of asylum seekers last summer.
The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless released a joint statement reiterating that the city is legally required to provide a bed to anyone in need of shelter.
“Regardless of the circumstances, these are obligations that no mayor can shirk,” the statement said. “That said, Washington and Albany have so far provided only minimal financial assistance for the City to meet this moment, and all levels of government must do their part to ensure that legal obligations are met and all people in need, including asylum seekers, are provided access to safe, decent, and accessible shelter.”
Jeff Goldfein, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society, said if the asylum seekers were allowed to work, it would change the dynamic.
“The federal government can solve this program overnight by giving people work authorizations,” Goldfein said.
That change doesn’t seem likely, but the federal government has approved $800 million in grants to cities that are taking in migrants. So far, NYC has only received about $10 million in federal money.
Adams plans to continue the conversation about the crisis and the help he needs when he gets back from Texas on Sunday.
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