EL PASO, Texas (WABC) – Mayor Eric Adams made his first visit to El Paso, Texas, over the weekend, and from the moment he landed, he said the crisis was clear.
“I saw people at the airport getting ready to fly to other places — it showed the gravity of the moment,” Adams said.
Adams described migrants sleeping on the streets with overcrowded shelters in the city, a situation that mirrors New York.
More than 40,000 migrants have arrived in the city since last April, overwhelming shelters and forcing the mayor to declare a state of emergency last year.
He says he has asked the federal government for $2 billion to help with the influx of migrants, but the state will receive far less in federal grants.
“The federal government has to take over the whole thing,” Adams said. “What El Paso is going through and all the other municipalities are going through. We need a moment of real leadership from FEMA. This is a national crisis. FEMA is dealing with a national crisis.”
Adams said the bottleneck at the southern border is causing growing desperation among asylum seekers.
“We will fight so that you can achieve the American dream,” he said.
That was his promise to a group of migrants gathered outside the church as El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser showed him around.
Adams says the resources needed to fulfill that promise simply aren’t coming fast enough to keep up with the flow of migrants heading to New York.
That’s despite the number of asylum seekers coming to El Paso dwindling as the Supreme Court reviews Section 42.
Mayor Adams says he will be in D.C. this week addressing the American Conference of Mayors — many of whom are also grappling with the influx of migrants. He poses to them the question of how they can develop a coordinated effort.
“What we want to do is really coordinate all of our mayors so that we come together with one voice,” Adams said. “As a result of this crisis, mayors are pitted against each other, and that cannot happen. No municipality should have to go through this, and so we’re not going to pit ourselves against each other, we’re going to come together with one voice.”
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