New York Mayor Eric Adams repeated calls for federal support for the city’s migrant crisis and said he wants to unify his counterparts across the country during a weekend trip to El Paso, Texas.
After a day of meetings with local officials and asylum seekers — which were entirely closed to the press — Adams repeated recent statements saying New York is at a breaking point.
“New York cannot take more. We can’t,” he said Sunday while discussing the recent influx in arrivals.
The city saw 3,100 asylum seekers during the seven days ending last Wednesday, according to the mayor.
“This is a national problem,” Adams said at a press conference alongside El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser. “We must have real immigration reform and we must immediately have a short-term fix of making sure that the cost of this does not fall on our cities.”
With other localities around the country sending migrants to the Big Apple, the city’s shelter and emergency housing population could surpass 100,000 in the coming weeks, Adams warned Friday. He put the cost to city taxpayers at up to $2 billion.
“The federal government should pick up the entire cost of what El Paso is going through and all of the other municipalities,” he said.
Adams flew to the Texas city on Saturday for a trip that included stops at a local shelter, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility and a section of the notorious wall on the border with Mexico, according to the mayor’s press office.
His press secretary tweeted a video of Adams chatting with a group of asylum seekers, drawing their applause.
“Outside Sacred Heart Church, asylum seekers overwhelmingly raise their hands to tell @NYCMayor they want to work,” spokesman Fabien Levy posted. “Mayor Adams has been calling on the federal government to expedite work authorization for asylum seekers since last year.”
Adams promised to make immigration a top priority at the U.S. Conference of Mayors this week in Washington, D.C.
“This has fallen on our cities,” he said. “And I am now going to coordinate my mayors across the entire country to say, ‘How do we respond to this directly?’”
He also lashed out at the governors of Colorado and Texas, who have been sending migrants to New York and other big cities.
“I think they had a bipartisan disrespect for the cities. It was wrong and should not happen and should not continue to happen,” said Adams.
In the short term, the Federal Emergency Management Agency needs to step in, he said.
“There should be one coordinator to coordinate everything that is happening dealing with migrants and asylum seekers in our country,” he added.
After meeting with people who recently crossed over the southern border, the mayor said some are getting the wrong idea about New York.
“There are websites that are advertising New York City, basically the streets are paved with gold,” he said.
“There’s a conversation among those who are … asylum seekers and migrants who are given the false impression that if you come to New York City, everything is fine. We have to give people adequate information.”