With President Biden in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly this week, Mayor Eric Adams had a message Tuesday for his once close Democratic ally pertaining to the migrant crisis.
Hizzoner said Biden needs to know that the city has done its share in handling the migrant crisis and that it’s time for the federal government to step up.
“While he’s here, I think that they should really reflect on [the fact that] New York City has done its part,” Adams told reporters at an unrelated news conference on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Sept. 19.
Adams intoned that during Biden’s visit to the Big Apple he should understand the enormous financial burden the influx has placed on local taxpayers. The city has already shelled out $2 billion on sheltering and otherwise caring for nearly 60,000 migrants in its care and is projected to spend close to $5 billion this fiscal year and up to $12 billion by summer 2025.
“I am hoping that he understands this beautiful city, that’s the economic engine of the entire country, is being saddled with $2 billion we spent already, $5 billion we’re going to spend in this fiscal crisis, $12 billion in the next two budgetary cycles,” Adams said. “New York [doesn’t] deserve this, the asylum seekers don’t deserve this.”
The mayor wouldn’t say whether or not he planned to meet with Biden while the president is in town this week, but his packed public schedules for both Monday and Tuesday didn’t include meetings with the president.
“Once we know what I’m going to do, we’ll release a public schedule,” he said. “I’m very public. Everybody knows who I am. You guys know where I am all the time. We’ll release if we’re going to be with the President or not.”
A White House spokesperson didn’t respond to requests for comment on whether Biden planned to meet with Adams during his stint in New York this week.
Adams and Biden’s relationship has become increasingly rocky as the mayor has continually criticized the president for not directing enough assistance to the city for the migrant influx, which has seen over 113,000 newcomers arrive since last year. The tensions appeared to hit a breaking point after Adams in April declared that Biden’s administration has “turned its back” on and “failed” New York City when it comes to the issue of immigration.
In May, Adams was reportedly dropped as a surrogate for Biden’s 2024 presidential reelection campaign. While there was no official explanation from the Biden campaign at the time, according to a published report, speculation swirled that Biden was distancing himself from a mayor who publicly attacked him on immigration. It’s an issue that’s sure to fuel Republican attack ads in the coming election cycle, political analysts say.
Biden’s likely political concerns around Adams’ migrant crisis rhetoric became more apparent in recent weeks when Republicans lauded the mayor’s inflammatory remarks that the influx would “destroy New York City.” Even national Republicans seized on the mayor’s comments, with Congress Member Nick Lalota (R-Suffolk County) saying he was being “truthful” about the “scope” of the crisis.
Adams also held a large rally last month where he and a group of other pols, labor unions and business leaders demanded Biden use his executive authority to grant migrant work permits.
Veteran political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said Biden not meeting with Adams while he’s here doesn’t “bode well” for New York. The continued lack of federal aid, he said, will hurt Democrats’ chances of retaking swing district House seats they lost in last year’s midterm elections.
“That New York has not received its fair share of assistance is a federal problem, but now it’s a state problem and it really will hurt Democrats in New York state,” Sheinkopf said. “Because people are not going to forget, they’re just not. And the worry in the suburbs about New York City’s migrant problems seeping over is not an insignificant one. So it’s not the best move by the president.”
A Monday poll commissioned by Tusk Philanthropies and conducted by Hart Research Associates found that a majority of state residents in swing districts support granting work permits to migrants — something Biden has so far failed to do.
Sheinkopf added that the fractured relationship is Biden’s doing and it would be “better for him politically to sit with Adams, have a discussion and come up with a way to help New York.”
“All he’s gonna do, frankly, is suppress turnout,” he added. “Now, there’s no way he will lose New York state’s electoral votes, unquestionably so. But it can hurt him in the rest of the country with urban voters … the anti-urban bias that he’s showing may come back to bite him politically when he runs for office again next year.”