Mayor Adams visits southern border in El Paso amid ongoing migrant crisis

Mayor Eric Adams visits El Paso
Mayor Eric Adams in Dec. 2022.
File Photo by Dean Moses

Mayor Eric Adams visited the city of El Paso, Texas, on the southern border between the United States and Mexico, on Sunday for a fact-finding mission as the city welcomes a massive swell of Latin American migrants.

The mayor kept a busy schedule on his Texan excursion. He started his day meeting with El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, discussing the impact of migrant crossings on the community and “how cities can band together to call on the federal government to take the lead on tackling this crisis,” according to the mayor’s press secretary, Fabien Levy.

Hizzoner also journeyed to a section of the border in town with El Paso’s Hizzoner, to a spot known for a high volume of migrant crossings.

Adams also visited a local church providing shelter for migrants, telling a group assembled outside, “That’s what we are going to fight for, so you have the right to work and experience the American Dream,” according to video shot by Levy.

The mayor also visited the El Paso branch of the Office of New Americans, which helps settle new migrants, and paid his respects at the site of the 2019 Walmart massacre where a white supremacist gunman killed 23 people in a hate crime against Latinos.

The mayor was scheduled to give a press briefing on his trip at 6:30 p.m. New York time, but that has been delayed and moved owing to a “large dust storm” at the original site, Levy said.

About 36,000 asylum seekers, mainly from Central and South America, have filed into the Big Apple since the spring, with many being put on buses by Republican governors intent on political stunts. After several instances of the city violating its legal right to shelter by denying space to migrants, the mayor declared a state of emergency in October and set out to build a new tent facility to shelter them, first at Orchard Beach in the Bronx and then at Randalls Island, where the facility operated before closing after less than a month.

All told, the city is set to spend more than $1 billion on the migrant crisis before the adoption of the next budget, the mayor says, with expenditures including food, clothing, social services, healthcare, education, and of course shelter. And the buses keep coming, not only from conservative hotbeds on the southern border like Texas but from inland blue states like Colorado as well.

The mayor says New York needs vastly more resources from the federal government to handle the influx than the share of $785 million appropriated by Congress for cities across the country, lest other city services for residents suffer. Numerous city agencies were made to find savings and suggest cuts for the coming budget, perhaps most controversially at the Department of Education and the city’s public libraries.

“We’re calling on the national government to not put this burden on our cities,” Adams said on the PBS NewsHour on Friday. “El Paso should not be going through this. Washington, Houston, New York, none of our small or large cities should be experiencing this.”