Mayor Eric Adams warned the city was not prepared for an influx in asylum seekers amid growing signs that a change in federal policy could lead to more migrants arriving in New York by bus.
In a statement on Sunday, Adams predicted the Dec. 21 expiration of Title 42, a federal policy used by both the Biden and Trump administrations to prevent asylum seekers from entering the U.S. during a public health emergency, would lead to 1,000 additional migrants coming to New York each week.
He said the end of the rule – which was blocked by a federal judge last month – created an “urgent need for help” from the federal and state government
“Our shelter system is full, and we are nearly out of money, staff and space,” he said. “Truth be told, if corrective measures are not taken soon, we may very well be forced to cut or curtail programs New Yorkers rely on.”
New York has welcomed 31,000 migrants since this spring, roughly two-thirds of whom are currently in the city’s custody, according to officials. While the rate of arrivals has slowed in recent months, the Adams administration said they expected an immediate uptick in buses showing up at the Port Authority.
In a letter sent to City councilmembers on Sunday and obtained by Gothamist, the mayor’s legislative representative, Kevin Cho, said they were “expecting a higher amount of asylum seeker buses beginning today with two buses today and 10-15 more expected in the next two days.”
To meet the demand, New York City has opened more than 60 emergency shelters, including a since-shuttered tent facility on Randall’s Island.
In a recent report, Comptroller Brad Lander estimated the city would need $3 billion through 2026 to cover the cost of caring for the migrants. The federal government has not yet indicated if it will provide financial support.
While Adams has maintained a close relationship with Gov. Kathy Hochul, his comments suggested the state was also turning a blind eye to the city’s pleas for help.
“We’ve asked both the state and federal government for funding, for space to house asylum seekers, for staff, for workforce authorizations and, most importantly, a long-term strategy to ensure asylum seekers are sent to other cities,” he said. “Our requests for assistance have been mostly ignored.”
Inquiries to Hochul’s office were not immediately returned.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the City Council will hold a special oversight hearing on the city’s handling of the increase in asylum seekers.