HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is firing back at critics who said he should not have gone to the United States-Mexico border over the weekend.
Adams made the trip to El Paso to try and coordinate with other mayors and push the federal government to better handle and pay for the migrant crisis.
Of the 40,000 migrants who have come to New York City in the last year, New York is still directly caring for 26,000 people directly. Adams said the lack of action from the federal government has pitted city against city in a scramble to care for those coming in.
Adams’ defense of his trip to the border and the rhetoric he used during it — saying that New York City could not handle any more asylum seekers — came during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech at the National Action Network.
Adams wants the feds to cover the cost of housing and services for migrants. His administration projects a price tag of about $2 billion by this coming summer.
He also wants a point person at FEMA to handle the crisis. The intent of Adams is clear — pressure the federal government at all levels to do more — and unite big city mayors to offer solutions.
However, the border visit is catching criticism from some of New York City’s most progressive leaders.
Comptroller Brad Lander slammed the trip as doing little to bring monetary relief to the city — adding that Adams risks “reinforcing a harmful narrative that new immigrants themselves are a problem.”
Christine Quinn, is a former City Council speaker, and the current CEO of WIN, the largest provider of shelter and housing for families with children. Her shelters currently house 274 asylum-seeking families. There are 700 children in those families.
Quinn said New York will always have room but praised Adams overall for going down the border to see the scale of the crisis. She stressed there is more to be done locally to ease the burden and save money.
Mainly, WIN favors allowing people in shelters to more quickly apply for subsidized housing and making housing subsidies available to assuming seekers.
“The reforms that we are calling for would actually save the city money,” Quinn said. “Getting a family out of shelter and into an apartment with a subsidy day-by-day is far cheaper than keeping them in shelter, about three times less expensive than shelter.”
WIN and other shelter providers stress that it continues to be a particularly precarious time.
Quinn encouraged New Yorkers to donate food, diapers and money if they can spare it.