Mayor Eric Adams said the ongoing influx of asylum seekers is threatening the city’s already fragile economy, and hinted at legal action against Republican-led Southern states.

“This is undermining our economy and is undermining our attempt to recover in our cities that were already dealing with crises, from COVID to monkeypox, to crime, to housing,” Adams, who has prioritized jump-starting the city’s economy by relying on the businesses, said in his first wide-ranging interview on Spectrum News/NY1 since becoming mayor.

Adams’ remarks come as he faces continued criticism over his plan to temporarily house asylum seekers in tents that critics say are located in inaccessible areas prone to flooding. More than 16,000 migrants have arrived in New York City so far this year, according to estimates from the mayor’s office, which believes the vast majority have been bused to the city.

On Monday night, the mayor announced he was relocating the tent city from Orchard Beach in the Bronx to Randall’s Island a day after video surfaced showing the location was flooded. On Wednesday evening, Adams said his administration was doing everything it could, but needed assistance from Washington.

“I'm not going to pit everyday New Yorkers against migrants and I'm not going to take away resources that we have to really allocate for everyday New Yorkers,” Adams said. “This is a national problem, it needs national response, and that is why we call on Washington to respond to this on a national level.”

Piling onto the criticism of the mayor’s ‘tent city’ plan, the City Council offered its own solution in a press release on Wednesday, with Speaker Adrienne Adams proposing the city remove migrants from the tent locations and put them into 10 large-scale hotels. Among these hotels would be the Gramercy Park Hotel, which is set to permanently close.

“Given its own flood risks in the middle of hurricane season and colder temperatures from exposure to the East River as winter approaches, Randall’s Island is inconsistent with humanitarian relief,” the speaker said in a statement.

The plan also calls for fast-tracking the transitioning of sheltered homeless individuals into permanent housing in order to free up capacity.

In response, the mayor said he was open to hearing the City Council’s ideas, which he told anchor Errol Louis he hadn’t seen yet.

“I'm looking forward to sitting down with the Council and Councilwoman Adrienne Adams, our speaker, and come up with those solutions,” Adams said.

The mayor suggested racism toward him and the mayors of two other cities — Chicago and Washington D.C. — might factor into Republican governors’ decisions to send migrants to the city.

“I don’t know if it’s Black mayors, or if it’s just going to Northern cities, but something is wrong,” the mayor said. “I mean, we have thousands of cities in this country. Why are we specifically targeting Washington, Chicago, and New York? There’s something wrong with that.”

He also said Sylvia Hinds-Radix, the city’s Corporation Counsel, has been reviewing “every legal ground” to ensure “we protect New Yorkers from this assault on our city.” He argued that the the crisis is keeping the city from moving in a “direction that we believe it should go into.”