In an unprecedented visit by a New York City mayor to the Mexico border, Eric Adams said his city doesn’t have enough “room” to host more migrants in its strained care system.
He made his remarks on Sunday at a news conference during his trip to El Paso, Texas, the first visit of its kind by a New York mayor, after an ongoing crisis sparked by the controversial decision of some Republican governors in the south to send migrants to mostly Democratic-administered municipalities around the US.
“No city deserves what is happening. This is a beautiful city,” he said of El Paso, “and what happened over the last few months undermines this city”.
He echoed the same thoughts for Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington.
“We don’t deserve this, migrants don’t deserve this, and the people who live in this city don’t deserve this,” he added.
Since September, thousands of migrants – about 3,100 according to Adams’ estimate – have been bused to New York City from Texas by the Republican governor, Greg Abbott, without New York’s agreement. Many of the migrants have been sent involuntarily and often with no direction on where to go after arriving.
The city has housed them in homeless shelters, which were already overcrowded, not to mention often avoided by homeless people themselves due to the shelter system’s record of abuse and violence.
He said more than 800 migrants came in a single day. “That is a record in our city,” he said.
Adams blamed a lack of coordination from the federal government and said he will be raising the issue in the United States Conference of Mayors, which starts Tuesday.
“This crisis has mayors pitted against each other. And that can’t happen,” he said.
He also suggested that the image of New York being a welcoming city for migrants is misleadingly glamorized.
“We have to give people accurate information,” he said, adding that those with sponsors and family members are welcome.
“We welcome those the city doesn’t have to have in their care system,” he added. “But that should not come at the price tag of those New Yorkers.”
A video shared by Adams’ press secretary, Fabien Levy, shows the mayor speaking with a man in a border patrol uniform who is seen trying to explain to him how some people use ladders to cross the border wall.
In another video, Adams tells a group of asylum seekers that he will “fight” for them to work so that they can “experience the American dream”. His message, once translated, sparked cheers and applause from the group of asylum seekers.
It is unclear where he believes asylum seekers should be placed after arriving in the US. As of publication time the mayor’s office had not yet responded to a request for clarification.