PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) — Could Paterson, New Jersey, and other bustling cities on the other side of the Hudson River become the next landing pad for incoming asylum seekers? 

With New York City Mayor Eric Adams sounding the alarm about the need for more federal and regional help, it is a question that is now resonating with New Jersey local and state officials. 

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh is not making any promises. 

“We’re not only the most diverse city, we’re one of the most densely populated cities. So, we’re bursting at the seams. That is a conversation we have to have because it is a very salient point you raise. And I would have to echo some of the sentiments expressed by my colleague, counterpart in New York, Mayor Adams – we would need federal assistance if we’re going to try to accommodate asylum seekers in the city of Paterson,” said Mayor Sayegh. 

Paterson, like the rest of the state, is already technically a sanctuary city and has a long-established track record of welcoming asylum seekers and refugees. 

If Gov. Phil Murphy’s latest comments to News 12 New Jersey are any indication, Paterson will not be alone in reluctantly declining to roll out the red carpet to incoming asylum seekers. 

“We’ve always been a nation of immigrants. But that doesn’t mean it can be the wild west. I don’t see any scenario where we’re going to be able to take in a program in Atlantic City, or frankly elsewhere in the state. We are already seeing folks in New Jersey that have probably swelled into Jersey from New York City, or other locations. You need scale, an enormous amount of federal support, and resources that go beyond anything that we can afford. Putting everything else aside, just don’t see it. And I would suspect that will continue to be the case,” said Murphy. 

Sayegh said Paterson already needed $25 million in state funds to address its budget deficit, and that is without considering how to house an untold number of asylum seekers.