NEW YORK (PIX11) — Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency Friday over New York City’s struggle to keep up with the influx of thousands of migrants while imploring both federal and state lawmakers to provide urgent aid.
“This is an ‘all hands on deck’ moment,” said Adams during a 15-minute address streamed from City Hall.
With more than 17,000 asylum seekers arriving since April, many of them bused north from border states by politicians, the city’s shelter system is overtaxed and its budget is projected to take a $1 billion hit by the end of the fiscal year, Adams said.
“We need help, and we need it now,” said Adams during the address. “The time for aid to New York is now.”
The mayor beseeched federal lawmakers to pass emergency financial relief for New York and other cities facing similar strains, as well as the passage of legislation waiving a six-month waiting period for migrants to legally work in the United States. He also called on Congress to work toward long-term solutions to reduce the flow of migrants at the border, including comprehensive immigration reform.
Adams additionally said that state lawmakers must pitch in with financial aid, and that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office should help find sites for new relief centers and staffing for them.
“This is unsustainable,” said Adams of the status quo. “The city is going to run out of funding for other priorities. New York City is doing all we can, but we are reaching the outer limit of our ability to help.”
In addition to the state of emergency, Adams also issued an executive order directing a number of city agencies to expedite the construction of relief centers, while also suspending certain land-use requirements for the process. The city is currently constructing a tent encampment for migrants on Randall’s Island, after scrapping earlier plans to put it at Orchard Beach in the Bronx amid public concerns of flooding and other issues.
With winter approaching and more migrants arriving every day, lawmakers have called on Adams to find indoor shelter solutions, such as hotels. The mayor did not signal such measures in Friday’s address, but did tease an announcement in the coming weeks about “efforts to fast-track long-term unhoused New Yorkers into permanent housing” and “a partnership in which New Yorkers will be able to host asylum-seekers and the unhoused.”
“Because, despite all the bad faith that has caused this crisis and made it worse, New Yorkers have always looked out for our immigrant brothers and sisters,” he said. “As we did after 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy, we will rally together for the greater good in a time of unprecedented crisis.”
Following Adam’s announcement Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted that he still intends to send more buses with migrants to New York City as well as other so-called “sanctuary cities.”
“Sanctuary cities like New York City experience a FRACTION of what Texas border communities face every day. We’ll continue busing migrants to NYC, DC, & Chicago to relieve our overwhelmed border towns until Biden does his job to secure the border,” Abbott wrote.