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NYC Mayor Eric Adams declares state of emergency over influx of migrants
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New York City Mayor Eric Adams

Mayor Eric Adams has declared a state of emergency to help respond to the city’s migrant crisis, which he told reporters Friday will cost the city $1 billion this fiscal year.

“We now have a situation where more people are arriving in New York City than we can immediately accommodate, including families with babies and young children,” Adams said. “Once the asylum seekers from today’s buses are provided shelter, we would surpass the highest number of people in recorded history in our city’s shelter system.”

The mayor called for emergency federal and state aid to handle the continued influx of asylum seekers.

Adams’ declaration will direct all relevant city agencies to coordinate efforts to respond to the humanitarian crisis and to construct the city’s Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers. The state of emergency will be in effect for 30 days and may be extended, the mayor said.

New York City now has more than 61,000 people in its shelter system, including thousands experiencing homelessness and thousands of asylum seekers who have been bused in over recent months from other parts of the country, according to the mayor. He said more than 17,000 asylum seekers have been bused to New York City from the southern border since April of this year.

As of the first week of October, Texas has spent more than $18 million busing migrants – who have been processed and released by immigration authorities in Texas border communities – to Washington D.C., New York City, and Chicago. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the program in April as part of his response to the Biden administration’s immigration policies, and acknowledged that taxpayers were likely to foot the bill.

New York City’s shelter system is operating at near 100% capacity, Adams said. The city expects to spend at least $1 billion by the end of the fiscal year dealing with the influx of migrants, the mayor said, adding that if asylum seekers continue to enter the city at the current rate, the total population within the shelter system will exceed 100,000 in the year to come.

Adams said 42 hotels have been set up as emergency shelters and 5,500 migrant children have been enrolled in schools.

The city is also exploring a potential program for New Yorkers to volunteer to host asylum seekers and the “unhoused” in their homes.

“New Yorkers want to help, and we’re going to make it straightforward and easy for them to do so,” the mayor said. 

Republican governors at odds with Biden policies

Adams said in September that officials were assessing how they will respond to the influx of migrants, including legal options.

“Once we finalize how we’re going to continue to live up to our legal and moral obligation, we’re going to announce it. Until then, we’re just letting people know what we’re thinking of and how we’re going to find creative ways to solve this man-made humanitarian crisis,” Adams said at an unrelated event.

A record number of migrants were bused to the city on September 18 – nine in total, which is the most recorded in a single day in this recent wave, according to two city officials. At least 1,011 asylum seekers arrived from September 16 to September 18, according to a third city official.

Texas has bused more than 11,000 migrants to New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago since August, Abbott’s office announced in September.

Abbott and others who favor increasing immigration restrictions argue that Biden administration policies have provided an incentive for more people to cross the border illegally. Some Republican candidates have pushed the narrative of a migrant invasion as midterm elections approach, pledging they’ll do more to crack down on illegal immigration.

The busing campaign has led to sparring between Abbott and Adams, whose administration has accused the governor of using human beings as political pawns and whose city has been long considered a sanctuary for migrants. The mayor has asked the federal government for more resources, including housing assistance. The White House said it is in touch with Adams and committed to FEMA funding and other support.

Adams has said he has spoken with the mayor of El Paso and told him New York City cannot accommodate this many asylum seekers. He said the city has been in contact with Abbott’s office, adding that the Texas governor and his team have not been open to communication.

Adams reiterated that New York City is still a sanctuary city but stressed it is unable to handle such an overwhelming influx of migrants.

“We are not telling anyone that New York can accommodate every migrant in the city,” the mayor said Monday. “We’re not encouraging people to send eight, nine buses a day. That is not what we’re doing. We’re saying that as a sanctuary city with right to shelter, we’re going to fulfill that obligation. That’s what we’re doing.”

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