New York Mayor Eric Adams traveled to the Texas border town of El Paso this weekend to implore the federal government to provide additional funding and support to US cities hosting tens of thousands of migrants seeking refuge from economic crises and political turmoil in Latin America.
During the trip, his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border as mayor, Adams said cities like New York and El Paso were on the “frontline” of an unprecedented migration crisis that recently prompted the administration Biden to adoptaimed at discouraging illegal border crossings.
“This is a national crisis and we need a national solution,” said Adams, a Democrat who published a on migrant arrivals in New York.
Since a few months,cope with a sharp increase in migrant arrivals, mainly from countries in crisis such as Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. The Democratic-run city in Texas has converted a convention center and two vacant colleges into makeshift migrant housing to relieve overwhelmed city shelters. Many migrants still found themselves sleeping on the streets of El Paso.
New York City, for its part, has also taken in tens of thousands of migrants in recent months who have entered the United States through the southern border. Some of them traveled to the city with the help of volunteers or family members in the United States. Others were bused to New York by Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who ferried migrants to Democratic-run cities to protest President Biden’s border policies. .
For several months last year, city officials from El Paso also sent dozens of migrant buses to New York. But its operation was designed to reduce overcrowding in local shelters, not to send a political message.
Since last year, Adams has warned that New York would face serious fiscal and operational challenges without increased state and federal assistance to welcome migrants. The city has set up 74 shelters and four treatment centers to accommodate new arrivals, including in refurbished hotels. In total, New York has provided around 40,000 migrants with shelter, food and other services, a project by city officials that will cost more than $1 billion.
Last week, Adams told New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat, that the situation was “pushing New York to the brink” and urged state officials to help shelter 500 migrants.
“We’re at our breaking point,” Adams said. “Based on our projections, we anticipate not being able to continue to house arriving asylum seekers on their own and have submitted an emergency mutual aid request to New York State beginning this weekend. end.”
During his trip to El Paso on Saturday and Sunday, Adams met with local volunteers, shelter officials, migrants and city leaders, including Mayor Oscar Leeser, another Democrat who also asked for and received help. of the Biden administration to shelter, feed and transport arriving migrants.
On Sunday, Adams drew cheers and applause from a group of migrants when he told them he would fight for their ability to work in the United States and achieve the “American dream.” video of the encounter shows.
One of the main frustrations expressed by Adams is that migrants arriving in New York cannot work legally due to a federal law that prevents them from obtaining work permits before their asylum applications have been pending since. several months. Although he asked the federal government to lift the requirement, it can only be changed by Congress, which hasn’t passed major immigration legislation since the 1990s.
Other Democrats joined Adams in calling for additional federal action to help cities welcome migrants who have been allowed by border officials to stay in the country while their asylum claims are adjudicated.
On Sunday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she “wholeheartedly” agreed with Adams’ call for increased federal support. While appreciating the Biden administration’s efforts to address the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, she said additional steps must be taken to help meet the “urgent needs” of migrants arriving in Chicago, where Texas state officials have also.
“Months and thousands of migrants later, we continue to face the challenge of how to cope with the increase in the number of asylum seekers and the escalating costs associated, which have been mainly left to cities to manage”, Lightfoot wrote on Twitter.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration unveiled its most comprehensive strategy yet to deal with the unprecedented number of migrant arrivals along the southern border. He announced he would expand deportations of migrants who entered the United States illegally, while expanding opportunities for some migrants to enter the country legally, including through a program for those with financial sponsors based in the USA.
Biden administration officials have insisted the federal government is helping local communities welcome migrants, including providing grant funding through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program. ).