Mayor Adams, in an Interview With the Sun, Calls Migrant Issue ‘Not Sustainable’ and Plugs for an ‘Ellis Island Strategy’

Yet it is no dark night of the soul for the mayor, who tells the Sun that despite cascading ‘challenges’ he wants to ‘be Eric.’

Arie Lipnick for the New York Sun.
Eric Adams interviewed by A.R. Hoffman for The New York Sun, August 27, 2023, at Sag Harbor. Arie Lipnick for the New York Sun.

Mayor Adams’s conversation with The New York Sun, which stretched between the sands of Oman and the lights of Times Square, suggests that for Hizzoner, notwithstanding a surge of migrants, Gotham’s glass is not only half-full, but overflowing.   

A.R. Hoffman interviews Mayor Adams for The New York Sun, August 27, 2023, at Sag Harbor.

Despite his earlier vows to maintain New York as a sanctuary city on immigration — in that commitment, he followed his predecessor, Mayor de Blasio — he now laments that the current situation is “not sustainable” and demands that the federal government pursue a “decompression strategy.” 

A recent poll disclosed that “New Yorkers — including huge majorities of Democrats, Republicans, independents, upstaters and downstaters — overwhelmingly” — by a tune of 82 percent  — “say that the recent influx of migrants to New York is a serious problem for the state.” 

It’s an important moment for Mr. Adams, who spoke to a group of Founder members of The New York Sun. He was fresh off a three-day pilgrimage to the Jewish state that he described as centering on “faith, family, and technology.”

In his remarks, Hizzoner discloses a spiritual side rarely seen among officeholders. He tells the Sun that he — like, we would add, no less a figure than J. Robert Oppenheimer — is a “big believer that energy never dies,” and that at this “very crucial moment” he needed to “renew his spirit.” He shares that he previously undertook such a journey to the “desert outside of Oman.”

The mayor, though, hardly appears to be suffering through a dark night of the soul. He repeats a line that has become a refrain — “When does the hard part start?” — notwithstanding the “unprecedented humanitarian crisis that our city is facing” in the form of that wave of more than 100,000 migrants. 

Mr. Adams, who in a 2021 post on X noted that “New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration,” now tells the Sun that his “team managed this crisis like no one ever thought it would be possible, and is still doing great things while we’re doing it.” 

At a news conference last month, though, Mr. Adams sang a different tune, allowing, “We have no more room in the city.” He pegs the cost associated with the wave at $12 billion, and is eyeing diverting the influx to the suburbs. He now calls for large-scale immigration reform.

The Biden administration appears unconvinced that Mr. Adams’s handling of the issue has been pristine. Politico disclosed a letter from the secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, addressed to Mr. Adams and Governor Hochul. 

The letter notes flaws related to New York’s approach comprising “structural issues include governance and organization of the migrant operations, including issues of authority, structure, personnel, and information flow.”

Mr. Adams tells the Sun that we “don’t have encampments on our streets in the city of New York,” though hundreds of migrants were earlier this summer seen outside the Roosevelt Hotel, on East 45th Street. 

The mayor, though, touts his commitment to the city’s “visual presentation” and invited this correspondent to “hang out” at Times Square and survey the people “dining, dating, eating, and enjoying the beauty of what this city has to offer.”

When it comes to remote work, which has wreaked havoc on the city’s commercial real estate market, Mr. Adams points to a focus on the “physiology of the body and the needs of the body” as well as the “impact on your brain” of working from home. 

He also defended the persistence of al fresco eating, asking, “Why should Paris be the only city with good outdoor dining?” He adds that he “hates rats” and doesn’t want them “running around.”  

The mayor touts an “Ellis Island model” that would offer migrants the opportunity to work, noting that labor is the “precursor to sleep that allows you to experience the American dream.” He asks: “What is more anti-American than telling someone you cannot work in America?”

He appears to be living his own version of that dream, allowing that he gets on his “knees every day and thanks God for not letting some of those other characters be mayor and that I’m the mayor right now.” 


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