Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday pleaded for help from the state and federal governments to handle an “influx” of buses carrying Latin American migrants expected to arrive in New York City this week, as the Trump-era Title 42 restrictions on border crossings is set to expire.
Adams even warned that if financial aid does not materialize to handle the influx, the city may be forced into drastic cuts for other programs.
“Our shelter system is full, and we are nearly out of money, staff, and space. Truth be told, if corrective measures are not taken soon, we may very well be forced to cut or curtail programs New Yorkers rely on, and the pathway to house thousands more is uncertain,” Hizzoner said. “These are not choices we want to make, but they may become necessary, and I refuse to be forced to choose new arrivals over current New Yorkers. I’ll say it again — we need a plan, we need assistance, and we need it now.”
The mayor said that the city should expect up to 1,000 asylum seekers entering the city each week going forward, and demanded help from the state and feds in the form of financial assistance, approval of work visas, or other measures.
“We are in urgent need for help, and it’s time for our state and federal partners to act,” said Hizzoner in a lengthy statement. “Especially those in Congress who refuse to provide the financial resources or issue temporary work authorizations necessary for these individuals to live properly.”
Title 42 is a plank of federal public health law that allows the government to prevent the “introduction of persons” within US borders during a public health emergency. The Trump administration used the law during the COVID-19 pandemic to turn away migrants attempting to enter the country, even those trying to apply for asylum.
A federal judge ruled the policy unconstitutional last month, and it is set to be formally rolled back on Wednesday.
The mayor said that 31,000 asylum seekers have already flowed into the city in recent months, many of them bused up north to Democratic-led cities by Republican governors looking to make a political statement.
After a haphazard rollout that included allegedly violating the city’s right-to-shelter law and not one, but two, controversial attempts to build tent facilities, the city now has 60 emergency shelters, four “humanitarian relief centers,” and two “welcome centers” open for migrants, according to the mayor, and the administration has placed children in public schools and spent what Hizzoner says is hundreds of millions of dollars to feed and clothe asylum seekers.
The mayor has consistently argued that the city is being stretched thin without assistance from other levels of government, and recently asked the Biden administration for $1 billion in federal relief to handle the surge, though it’s unclear if aid is forthcoming.