NEW YORK (PIX11) — As more buses carrying asylum seekers arrived in Midtown Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams warned New Yorkers the migrant crisis will ruin New York City.
“This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City,” Adams said at a Town Hall meeting on the Upper West Side.
The mayor said about 10,000 migrants a month are coming to the city from all over the world, including Russian-speaking nations and West African countries. Adams admitted every neighborhood in the five boroughs will be impacted and that he doesn’t see a solution to the crisis.
“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,” he said.
Adams reiterated that the federal government has yet to provide the resources to help New York City support the asylum seekers. The crisis has put the city in a $12 billion deficit, meaning many services will be cut, the mayor said.
“Everyone is saying it’s New York City’s problem. Every community in this city is going to be impacted. Every service in this city is going to be impacted,” Adams said.
The mayor’s comments are raising questions about what comes next as New York City continues on its expensive and expansive mission to house and feed everyone who comes.
“This is not the first crisis New Yorkers have faced,” said the Rev. Dr. Demetrius Carolina with First Central Baptist Church of Staten Island. “We know this will not be the last crisis we face. If we made it through the pandemic, we can make it through this crisis as New Yorkers.”
Against the backdrop of heckling protesters, religious leaders on Staten Island gathered outside the former St. John Villa Academy turned migrant shelter. They argue the city has a moral obligation to care for the newest New Yorkers, while also getting more help from every level of government.
“But I don’t think we see or hear collaboration at this juncture,” Carolina said. “There are enough resources that this problem, this immediate problem, can be addressed in a logical and sensible manner.”
But the frustration is palpable and many New Yorkers are fed up.
“If this had been 5,000 or 10,000 people, it would’ve been a nice little experiment in woke virtue signaling to take care of these people,” said Republican New York City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli. “But it turns out when you offer people everything for free, and unlimited immigration, people show up.”
Borrelli has been one of the early critics of the city’s migrant response. He appreciates that the mayor is accurately articulating the problem, but he said he is still offering no real solutions.
“There is no end in sight,” Borrelli said. “We are talking about work permits and visas, and nobody’s talking about how do we stop the flow. The mayor mentioned that, but he’s unwilling to call out the president.”
On Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul also signaled she would be open to a special session of the State Legislature on the migrant crisis. She also said she would be on the phone with the White House again Thursday, pleading for more intervention.
Mira Wassef is a digital reporter who has covered news and sports in the New York City area for more than a decade. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.