On Friday, New York City’s mayor, Eric Adams, declared a state of emergency as the city battles to deal with a surge of tens of thousands of migrants from Latin America.
In a statement at City Hall, Mr. Adams announced that the city planned to spend $1 billion on its response and demanded federal and state assistance to help pay for housing and services for the busloads of migrants who have put a strain on the city’s homeless shelter system.
Mr. Adams declared, “We need help, and we need it now.
The city is going through with plans to establish a tent intake center on Randalls Island, in the East River just off Manhattan, according to Mr. Adams, a Democrat who assumed office in January. In order to shelter refugees on a ship, city officials are also in negotiations with cruise ship businesses.
According to Mr. Adams, the roughly 17,000 migrants who have entered the city since April have swamped it, and he anticipates that eventually, as many as 100,000 will do so. On Thursday, at least nine additional buses showed up.
According to the mayor, the city has opened 42 emergency shelters and enrolled 5,000 kids in schools. However, he claimed that the city urgently required greater assistance to offer services to migrants.
Mr. Adams said that by declaring an emergency, local officials would be able to move more quickly to offer services. He claimed that efforts were being made by the authorities to relocate certain migrants to other cities.
He added that New York was “on the edge of a cliff” and that the humanitarian catastrophe was “overwhelming” a city that was still recuperating from an ongoing worldwide pandemic.
Homeless advocates and City Council members who oppose initiatives to accommodate migrants in tents or aboard ships have criticized Mr. Adams for his reaction to the situation. They have demanded that vacant hotels be repurposed and that inhabitants of shelters be relocated into permanent housing as soon as feasible.
According to Frank Carone, the mayor’s chief of staff, during a brief interview at City Hall, the city is considering hosting up to 2,700 migrants on a cruise ship and is in talks with three cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line. The other two businesses are Tallink, which provides homes for Ukrainian migrants in Estonia, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
City officials are looking at a number of locations to dock cruise ships, including the Homeport pier in Staten Island, which is situated between the Verrazano Bridge and the St. George Ferry Terminal.
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, has come under fire from Mr. Adams for failing to coordinate the arrival of migrants with his administration. On Friday, Mr. Adams urged Mr. Abbott to stop sending buses to New York and instead distribute the load to other areas.
Mr. Adams declared, “New Yorkers are enraged.” “I’m also furious. We did not request this.
Just one month before the November elections, the mayor’s repeated requests for federal and state aid are placing pressure on President Biden and New York Governor Kathy Hochul.
Mr. Adams responded, “No, not at all,” when asked if he was placing Mr. Biden and Ms. Hochul in a challenging situation.
Mr. Adams claimed to have recently spoken with Mr. Biden about the problem and that both Mr. Biden and Ms. Hochul were aware of the difficulties the city was facing.
They recognize that New York needs assistance and that the situation is critical, the mayor added.
Senator Chuck Schumer’s office was “in close communication with the Adams team and working with the New York delegation to acquire resources and to encourage the Biden administration to do all it can to be helpful,” according to Senator Chuck Schumer’s spokesperson, Angelo Roefaro.
The majority of immigrants from Venezuela who have family or friends in Florida, according to city officials on Friday, desire to travel to other places after landing in the city. The city is seeking to relocate those people to other cities, according to Mr. Adams.
In a joint statement, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless stated that while they agreed with the mayor that the city needed more state and federal assistance, the problem of homelessness had been brewing for a long time.
The organizations asserted that there are other factors contributing to the record-high shelter census besides an inflow of asylum seekers. Mass homelessness has persisted because of the city’s historically dismal unwillingness to make significant investments in affordable housing.
Additionally, the groups urged the city to “abandon its proposal to build tent communities and to focus instead on high-quality indoor shelter choices and permanent homes.”