NYC Mayor sounds alarm; migrant influx to cost $12bln
As migrants continue to come in at a rate of hundreds per week, New York City has revised its projection for the expenses associated with accommodating them and delivering additional services.
For the past year, Mayor Eric Adams has been raising concerns about an unprecedented humanitarian crisis unfolding in New York City, marked by the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants from the southern border.
Recently, Mayor Adams once again appealed for federal assistance, underscoring an astonishing new cost projection: a staggering $12 billion required to provide housing and care for these newcomers over a span of three years.
For the current fiscal year, the mayor stated that the city anticipates spending around $5 billion on addressing the needs of migrants, which is equivalent to the combined annual budgets of the Fire, Parks, and Sanitation Departments.
City officials have revised this estimate upward due to the ongoing influx of migrants arriving in the city in significant numbers. Mayor Adams warned that by 2025, New York City might be housing more than 100,000 migrants in homeless shelters, roughly twice the current number of occupants, including individuals who have arrived since the spring of 2022.
New York City is not the sole location grappling with the challenges of accommodating migrants, the majority of whom have entered the country through the southern border. Mayor Adams indicated that he has collaborated with other cities confronting a comparable surge of migrants, including Los Angeles.
In an effort to curb the influx, the Biden administration has implemented new regulations that make it more challenging to seek asylum. Additionally, funds have been allocated to cities receiving migrants. However, Mayor Adams has asserted that the US government's measures are insufficient.
“If we don’t get the support we need, New Yorkers could be left with a $12 billion bill,” Adams said in a speech from City Hall as quoted by The New York Times. “While New York City will continue to lead, it’s time the state and federal government step up.”
The mayor reiterated a familiar request he has made frequently in the past year, urging the federal government to declare a state of emergency, offer emergency assistance, and establish a "decompression" plan aimed at reducing the influx of migrants to cities like New York. Additionally, he appealed to President Biden to grant work authorizations to migrants.
A collapsed shelter system
Mayor Adams has been highlighting the immense strain on the shelter system for nearly a year and has taken proactive steps to discourage migrants from coming to New York. Just three weeks ago, the city launched a campaign by distributing flyers at the southern border, conveying the high cost of living in New York and the absence of guaranteed assistance upon arrival, even though the city is obligated to provide shelter to those who request it.
The Mayor also implemented a rule necessitating that single adult migrants must reapply for shelter every 60 days. Furthermore, he sought legal relief from some of the city's responsibilities to ensure shelter for individuals.
Of the 96,000 recent arrivals, more than 57,000 are presently residing in homeless shelters, according to Anne Williams-Isom, the deputy mayor for health and human services. In total, there are 108,400 individuals in homeless shelters, setting a record for the highest number of shelter occupants.
The city's handling of the migrant situation has experienced setbacks in the past, and the latest is the system completely collapsing last week when the city's primary intake center, operated by a company previously responsible for COVID testing in the city, started refusing entry to people seeking assistance.
Approximately 200 migrants, predominantly men, with many hailing from Africa, spent the night on the sidewalk near the Roosevelt Hotel, located just around the corner from Grand Central Terminal. Last Thursday, in response to a letter from the Legal Aid Society, addressed to the judge overseeing the city's request to waive the shelter obligation, asserting that the city was infringing on the migrants' right to shelter, the city managed to secure accommodations for all of them.
City authorities seized this opportunity to reiterate their appeals for increased financial assistance from both state and federal governments.