In an unprecedented visit to the Mexico border by a New York mayor, Eric Adams said his city didn’t have enough “space” to accommodate more migrants in its strained care system.
He made his remarks Sunday at a news conference during his trip to El Paso, Texas, the first such visit by a New York City mayor, following an ongoing crisis sparked by a controversial decision by some Republican governors in the South to send in migrants in mostly Democrat-governed communities in the United States.
“No city deserves what is happening. This is a beautiful city,” he said of El Paso, “and what has happened in the last few months is undermining this city.”
He repeated the same thoughts for Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington.
“We don’t deserve this, migrants don’t deserve this, and the people who live in this city don’t deserve this,” he added.
Since September, thousands of migrants — about 3,100, Adams estimates — have been bused from Texas to New York City by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott without New York’s consent. Many of the migrants were sent involuntarily and often without instructions as to where to go once they arrived.
The city put them in homeless shelters, which were already overcrowded, not to mention that the homeless are often shunned due to the shelter system’s record of abuse and violence itself.
He said more than 800 migrants came in a single day. “It’s a record in our city,” he said.
Adams blamed a lack of coordination on the part of the federal government and said he will raise the issue at the US mayors’ conference that begins Tuesday.
“This crisis has played mayors off against each other. And that must not happen,” he said.
He also suggested that New York’s image as a welcoming city for migrants was being misleadingly glorified.
“We need to give people accurate information,” he said, adding that those with sponsors and family members are welcome.
“We welcome those that the city doesn’t need to have in its care system,” he added. “But that shouldn’t come at the price of these New Yorkers.”
A video shared by Fabien Levy, Adams’ press secretary, shows the mayor speaking to a man in a border patrol uniform who is trying to explain to him how some people use ladders to cross the border wall.
In another video, Adams tells a group of asylum seekers that he will “fight” for them to work so they can “live the American Dream.” His message, once translated, elicited cheers and applause from the group of asylum seekers.
It’s unclear where he thinks asylum seekers should be housed once they arrive in the US. At the time of publication, the mayor’s office had not yet responded to a request for clarification.