Adams Declares ‘Sanctuary City’ New York Has ‘No More Room’ for Migrants

Adams says he is hoping to work on a plan to take up immigration issues with other mayors at a gathering of the United States Conference of Mayors this week.

Fabien Levy/Office of the Mayor
New York City's Mayor Adams at a section of the wall separating the United States and Mexico near El Paso, Texas. Fabien Levy/Office of the Mayor

New York’s mayor, once a strident opponent of what he called President Trump’s “racist” border wall, got a first-hand look at that wall over the weekend and declared the nation’s immigration system broken. 

During a trip to El Paso, Texas, Eric Adams called on his fellow mayors around the country — and the federal government — to step up their efforts to curtail the number of immigrants streaming into America’s largest so-called sanctuary city.

“New York cannot take more. We can’t,” Mr. Adams said. “There is no more room in New York.”

The flow of migrants into New York City has strained the city’s shelters, with more than 3,100 asylum seekers arriving in the second week of January. According to the city, there are more than 66,000 people, including more than 22,000 children, residing in New York’s shelters as of January 13. This time last year, the total population of the city’s shelters was about 47,000.

Mr. Adams says he is hoping to work on a plan to tackle the problem with other mayors around the country at a gathering of the United States Conference of Mayors, which will meet at Washington, D.C., this week.

“I knew it was time for me, not to handle this problem from the city, but to come and to interact with the mayors across the country,” Mr. Adams said at a press briefing at El Paso. “This has fallen on our cities.”

Mr. Adams’s visit comes only a week after President Biden’s own visit to the border, which Republicans, including Speaker McCarthy, have criticized as nothing but a “photo op.” Mr. Biden spent a couple hours at El Paso on his way to a meeting in Mexico last week.

Republicans, perennially campaigning on security at the southern border, have signaled that this will be among their priorities in the new Congress, and Mr. McCarthy announced last week that one of the House’s first hearings would take up the topic.

In the first week of the new legislative session, House Republicans introduced a bill that would empower the Department of Homeland Security to suspend the entry of migrants at America’s borders in order to establish “operational control.”

Mr. Biden, ahead of his visit to the border, also signaled that he would be addressing the issue, announcing new policies aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration and encouraging legal immigration.

“Do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there,” Mr. Biden said. “If you don’t apply through the legal process you will not be eligible for this new parole program.”

The new policy announced by Mr. Biden January 5 will require migrants to apply for asylum first in the countries that they travel through on their way to the United States. Those who do not will not be allowed to apply for asylum once here. The new rules also require migrants to arrive via an authorized port of entry.

“Until Congress passes the funds, a comprehensive immigration plan to fix the system completely, my administration is going to work to make things at the border better using the tools that we have,” Mr Biden said.

Legislatively, immigration and the border has long been seen as a potential area where Democrats and Republicans could work together. There were even whispers that a deal might be made in the lame duck session of the last Congress.

In late December, Axios reported that Mr. Biden was planning to attempt to cut a deal with the Republican House and Democratic Senate, giving Republicans increased funding for border security and Democrats permanent protection for so-called Dreamers, who were brought here as children.

Mr. Adams has also requested additional funding from the federal government to help manage the situation in New York. The city has received $8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $2 million via the Senate majority leader so far.

The costs of accommodating the migrants headed for New York, though, far exceeds the $10 million in assistance from Washington, Mr. Adams said. The city government reports that it spent some $366 million in sheltering asylum seekers last year and expects the total to rise to $2 billion by June.

The New York Sun

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