New York Mayor Eric Adams’s electrifying statement several weeks ago that the strain from having to accommodate the flood of illegal migrants “will destroy New York City” and Target’s announcement the other day that it will be closing nine stores across four states because of rampant shoplifting were nothing if not testimony to the Left’s loss of touch with reality.
It was Mayor Adams who, in typical woke fashion, proudly proclaimed to the world that New York City was a sanctuary city and welcoming of people from other countries who claimed they were desperately trying to escape oppression – and immigration rules and border security be damned. He said that NYC was a safe haven for immigrants seeking an escape from poverty or conflict in their home country to “pursue the American dream.” He even went to the Port Authority to personally greet groups of asylum seekers.
But in his desire to pursue the woke dream of being all things to all people professing need, he seems never to have given sufficient thought to how long an uncapped flow of immigrants could be allowed to continue and how long our economic, housing, educational, social service, cultural and law enforcement infrastructure could realistically be expected to be able to take them all in.
Then all of a sudden, after city resources had been overwhelmed, Mr. Adams had an epiphany. In the course of a Manhattan town hall meeting in early September, Adams said that New York City was unable to cope with the influx of ever-increasing numbers of asylum seekers and he did not see a way to fix things: “Let me tell you something, New Yorkers, never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to; I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City.”
He said the migrant surge had swamped the city’s regular shelters and the more than 200 emergency sites that were set up. About 20,000 migrant children were also expected to descend on the public schools. And he said that every community in the city is going to be impacted: “We have a $12 billion migrant related deficit that we’re going to have to cut. Every service in this city is going to be affected. All of us.”
However, rather than imploring President Biden to at least close the borders, Adams has throughout focused on asking him for additional funding – unsuccessfully.
As it turns out, however, there is something real he is able to do. Heretofore, the Mayor has insisted that the migrants, who are homeless almost by definition, are legally entitled to shelter at city expense by virtue of a 1979 court settlement agreement guaranteeing shelter to the city’s homeless. So the Mayor went to court seeking authority to massage the shelter rules and allow more flexibility in their enforcement. But a direct challenge to the notion that illegal migrants had a legal right to shelter was not mounted.
A decision in the Mayor’s case is still pending, but this past Tuesday a judge on Staten Island ruled in a different case that officials were not permitted to use a particular former school building as an emergency shelter because the rules for setting up emergency shelters were not followed. Significantly, though, the judge also opined that the “right to shelter” does not exist. He said that the 1979 settlement establishing a right to shelter for the homeless contemplated not newly arrived illegal migrants, but the “destitute and homeless alcoholics, addicts, mentally impaired derelicts, flotsam and jetsam.”
Although the result gave the Mayor the authority to bail the city out, a spokesman said the city would “immediately appeal this ruling, which we believe is incorrect in key respects and which threatens to disrupt efforts to manage this national humanitarian crisis.”
Apparently Mr. Adams can’t yet shake loose his wokeism despite its illogic and even if, in his own words, the future of his city is put at substantial risk.