Eric Adams fuels migrant debate with latest comments

Sep 7, 2023, 4:15pm EDT
New York City Mayor Eric Adams at the US Open.
REUTERS/Mike Segar
politicsNorth America
J.D. Capelouto/

The uptick in migrants could “destroy” New York City, Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday.

Adams, who also criticized the federal government and the governor of Texas, said he didn’t see an end to the crisis. The forceful statement was praised by many right-wing personalities and criticized by advocates and some on the left.

Both of the New York tabloids ran editorials about the migrant crisis on Thursday. The New York Post said Adams should focus on problem-solving, rather than just issuing "more rants." Their message to Adams: "You’re acting like the guy with the 'End of Days' sign outside Penn Station, a bystander to your own disaster."1 The Daily News said Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul share responsibility, and that politicians can't pretend New York will be fine without finding a way to speed up work permits for migrants.2

Many of the migrants in New York previously lived in Florida, where laws are more hostile to undocumented immigrants, Documented, an immigration news outlet, reported.3 “When they limit you so much, it’s hard to move forward. We don’t want to become a [public charge]. We just want to prosper,” one asylum seeker said. New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay said "there is no New York City without immigrants," but the city needs to build more housing to accommodate them.4

The migrant issue is "shaping up to replace crime" as the central issue in New York's elections next year that could determine which party controls the U.S. House, Semafor recently reported.5 Meanwhile, President Joe Biden's relationship with Adams has reportedly deteriorated as a result of the migrant issue,6 and the White House recently pushed back on criticism from local officials that it hasn't done enough to help.7 Immigration will also likely be a central issue in next year's presidential election.8

On Staten Island, a recent rally was a sign of the right-wing reaction to the migrants, as the city converts properties into temporary migrant shelters. "The media wants to say we don't want them here, that we want them in other places," one resident said. "That's not true. We don't want them anywhere."8