NEW YORK (WABC) – Although the city is thousands of miles from New York, Mayor Eric Adams visited El Paso, Texas, the epicenter of the city’s migration crisis.
The mayor said this crisis is bringing the city to a breaking point.
“Last week we got 3,000. One day we got 800. The strain on our infrastructure is just huge,” Adams said. It was the largest single-day arrival since the influx of migrants began.
Adams said it could cost the city between $1.5 billion and $2 billion to provide services to asylum seekers.
The mayor traveled to El Paso this weekend to see for himself the problem on the southern border.
His latest appeal to help asylum seekers was to state and federal governments for emergency mutual aid.
“Based on our projections, we believe we will not be able to continue sheltering asylum seekers and have submitted an emergency mutual aid request to New York State beginning this weekend,” Adams said. “This type of request, intended only for severe emergencies, asks the state to support asylum seekers as the city faces an immediate need for additional capacity. Our initial request is to shelter 500 asylum seekers, but as New York City continues to see an explosion in numbers, that estimate will also increase.”
The governor’s office also released a statement that said in part, “It will continue to work with the mayor and review his request,” but said “the federal government must do more to help with the crisis.”
The mayor says it will cost billions to provide services to asylum seekers, and his budget for the next fiscal year does not include city resources for them, despite housing thousands of asylum seekers last summer.
The Legal Aid Society and the Homeless Coalition released a joint statement confirming that the city is required by law to provide a bed to anyone in need of shelter.
“Regardless of the circumstances, these are responsibilities that no mayor can shirk from,” the statement said. “However, Washington and Albany have so far provided only minimal financial assistance to the city to meet this moment, and all levels of government must do their part to ensure that legal obligations are met and that all people in need, including individuals, who are seeking asylum. provided access to safe, dignified and affordable shelter.”
Jeff Goldfein, a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, said if asylum seekers were allowed to work, it would change the dynamic.
“The federal government could solve this program overnight by giving people work permits,” Goldfein said.
That change doesn’t seem likely, but the federal government has approved $800 million in grants to cities that host migrants. So far, New York has only received about $10 million in federal money.
Adams plans to continue the conversation about the crisis and the need for help when he returns from Texas on Sunday.
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