Adams Says New York ‘Cannot Take More’ Asylum Seekers

Photo: Paul Ratje/The New York Times/Redux

During a visit to the U.S.’s southern border in El Paso, Texas, this weekend, New York mayor Eric Adams said that his city “cannot take more” asylum seekers and that federal officials need to step up their response to the crisis.

“Last week, we received 3,100. A week and a half ago, we received 3,100 migrant asylum seekers. And in one day, over 800 — close to 840 — asylum migrant seekers. In one day. That is a record in our city,” Adams told reporters on Sunday.

The mayor called on the federal government to provide further assistance to New York and other cities taking in increased numbers of asylum seekers: “What is our ask today from the national government? We need clear coordination. That was the impetus behind my visit here.”

Adams met with El Paso’s mayor and visited Sacred Heart Church, which has been sheltering migrants, as well as a Border Protection processing facility. He arrived just one week after President Biden visited the city on his first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border as president.

Regarding the expense of accepting and housing asylum seekers, Adams said the costs shouldn’t fall on local governments. “The federal government should pick up the entire course — what El Paso is going through and all of the other municipalities,” he said. “And we need a real leadership moment from FEMA. This is a national crisis. FEMA deals with national crises. FEMA must step up, and there should be one coordinator to coordinate everything that is happening dealing with migrants and asylum seekers in our country.”

In December, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that limits the entry of asylum seekers, must stay in place while the court considers the full case, but that ruling hasn’t stemmed the tide.

On Friday, City Hall submitted an emergency-aid request to New York State, asking for help in housing 500 migrants that weekend. In a statement, Adams said the city is averaging more than 400 people arriving per day, estimating that New York has welcomed around 40,000 migrants in total in the past few months — all of which he says is “pushing New York City to the brink.”

Adams said he has been in communication with other mayors across the country who are contending with the same situation — including the mayors of Chicago, Houston, and Washington, D.C. Adams said local leaders need to “come together with a unified voice” and that he intends to raise the issue during a trip to Washington, D.C., this week, where he will speak to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“We are not pointing the finger at El Paso. We’re not pointing the finger at Houston. We’re pointing the finger where it should be pointed. And that’s our national government. This is a national problem,” he said. “We must have real immigration reform, and we must immediately have a short-term fix of making sure that the course of this does not fall on our local cities.”

Adams Says New York ‘Cannot Take More’ Asylum Seekers