Just days after blasting President Biden for failing to give the Big Apple assistance in handling the scores of migrants who’ve come here recently, Mayor Eric Adams appeared to take another swipe at the commander-in-chief on Friday — stating the city is being “destroyed” by the influx.
Hizzoner also slammed unnamed New York pols for not joining him on his Friday trip to Washington, DC to lobby the federal government for more migrant crisis-related aid.
“The city is being destroyed by the migrant crisisk, and none of my folks came to Washington, DC to fight for the resources that’s going to undermine every agency in our city,” the mayor said.
Adams made the remarks while speaking at the African American Mayors Association’s (AAMA) annual conference in the nation’s capital, during a panel event with outgoing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. The “Big 4” on the panel discussed the challenges of being Black leaders of some of the nation’s largest cities.
The mayor spoke at the conference before attending scheduled afternoon meetings with White House officials and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell, who formerly led the city’s Emergency Management Department under Mayor Bill de Blasio, to discuss getting more federal resources to assist the city with the over 55,000 migrants who’ve arrived here.
A ‘mismanaged crisis’
Since last fall, Adams has been constantly calling for the White House and Congress to give the five boroughs financial assistance and other resources, so it can better handle the over 55,000 mostly Latin American new arrivals — 34,600 of whom are in the city’s care.
During a news conference earlier this week, Adams said the president has “failed,” and the national government as a whole has “turned its back,” on New York City when it comes to the migrant crisis — in a rare public rebuke of his Democratic ally in the White House. Adams made the statements while urging the Biden administration to immediately take several steps to allow the city’s new arrivals to work.
“This is in the lap of the President of the United States. The President of the United States can give us the ability to allow people to work,” the mayor said earlier this week.
During a question and answer session with reporters following the Friday panel, Adams said the “mismanaged asylum seeker crisis” — referring to the feds’ handling of the influx — could potentially derail the progress the city has made in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. He repeated what has become a common refrain for him recently, that the estimated cost of the crisis, roughly $4.3 billion for the current and next fiscal years, will wreak havoc on the city’s economy.
“If you removed the $4.2 billion that have been dropped into my city because of a mismanaged asylum seeker issue, you will probably [would have] witnessed one of the greatest fiscal turnarounds in the history of New York City,” he said.
According to the mayor and his budget director, the projected cost of providing for the tens of thousands of asylum seekers has led the administration to propose its most recent round of 4% cuts across city agency budgets.
“The city has to, at a minimum, come up with $3 billion,” Jiha said. “We’re not raising taxes. So the only way we can manage this is to find efficiencies in other places in city government … This is not cheap and folks have to understand, the money has to come from somewhere.”
Others thrown ‘under the bus’
But Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, fired back at the mayor in a statement to amNewYork Metro. Awawdeh said is using “inflammatory rhetoric” to blame the asylum seekers for his “inability” to manage the city’s budget, while not giving credit to the city’s Congressional delegation and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for going to DC to push for aid this week.
“He is throwing NY’s Congressional membership and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams under the bus – all of whom were just in DC this week to lobby on behalf of the city – by stating he is a lone wolf fighting to save his city,” Awawdeh said.
Adams did, however, acknowledge both Williams and the Congressional delegation earlier this week.
Instead of treating the migrant influx as a crisis, Awawdeh said, the mayor should be expanding city services for them.
“It would be funny if his words weren’t fanning the flames of animosity towards immigrant New Yorkers,” he said. “It is long past time that Mayor Adams stopped treating people seeking safety as a crisis, and started investing in an infrastructure of permanent housing, legal representation, and social service supports that will allow asylum seekers, and all New Yorkers, to build their lives here. New Yorkers need solutions not demonization.”