Mayor Eric Adams said on Thursday that the influx of more than 110,000 asylum seekers will “destroy” New York City.
“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,” the mayor said at a town hall-style meeting on the Upper West Side. “This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City. We’re getting 10,000 migrants a month. All of us are going to be impacted by this. I said it last year when we had 15,000, and I’m telling you now with 110,000 — the city we knew, we’re about to lose.”
The Adams administration has already announced it is planning to move hundreds of single adult migrants from their hotel shelters to a compound on Randalls Island. Their rooms will be given to needy families with children.
Adams has been trying to roll back the right-to-shelter law, compelling the city to provide housing to anyone who seeks it within a proscribed time. NY City’s universal right to shelter followed the landmark 1979 lawsuit Callahan v. Carey which paved the way for subsequent legal victories that ensured the right to shelter for homeless men, women, children, and families in the city.
“Every community in this city is going to be impacted,” the mayor said. “We have a $12 billion deficit that we’re going to have to cut – every service in this city is going to be impacted. All of us.”
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice criticized Adams for his remarks and suggested that instead of pursuing austerity measures, he should invest more wisely in the city’s social safety net.
The NY Working Families Party tweeted: “Mayor Adams’ defeatist, fear-based approach to this crisis just shows his weakness. But NYC and its people are strong. We’ve always welcomed migrants and they’ve always made us stronger. We can do this. But only if we have leaders who are up to the task.”
Mayor Adams’ defeatist, fear-based approach to this crisis just shows his weakness. But NYC and its people are strong. We’ve always welcomed migrants and they’ve always made us stronger. We can do this. But only if we have leaders who are up to the task.
— NY Working Families Party (@NYWFP) September 7, 2023
The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless issued a joint statement calling Adams’ comments “dangerous rhetoric” that they would have expected “from fringe politicians on the far right of the political spectrum, not from the mayor of a city that has always welcomed and celebrated its diverse and critically important immigrant community.”
“What threatens to destroy New York City are billionaires trying to turn our city into a playground for the wealthy few, and the politicians who dine with them and choose to defund social services while criminalizing poverty and spreading fear & division,” they added.
New York Working Families Party, Urban Justice Center, VOCAL-NY, and the Bronx Defenders blasted the mayor, saying, “The city’s framing of the arrival of immigrants as a crisis deflects from the real issue – the city has not gotten a handle on its long-term housing and homelessness crises. This is not because of recent arrivals to New York – our city has always been a city of immigrants. It is because of a lack of progress on issues critical to all New Yorkers – homelessness, housing affordability, and housing preservation. Framing this as a ‘migrant problem’ invites racism and xenophobia.”
Mayor Adams put much of the blame on an unresponsive White House. “We’re getting no support on this national crisis,” he said on Wednesday. The Republican Party is weaponizing his complaints against President Joe Biden.
An estimated 60,000 migrants are occupying beds in hundreds of city shelters. City officials say there are an additional 20,000 migrant children who must be cared for. And the Biden administration is simply not addressing the city’s problem, according to the mayor.
Let’s conclude with a reminder: 48 years ago, on October 30, 1975, the New York Daily News ran its immortal headline, “Ford to City, Drop Dead.” New York City was mired in crippling debt, and President Gerald Ford, who was running for reelection, refused to give New York a bailout.
Needless to say, Ford lost.
Ford to city: Drop dead.
Meadows to country: Drop dead. pic.twitter.com/X95ySK6AAY
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 25, 2020