NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams is desperate for help handling the asylum seeker crisis and not getting the answers he wants.
On Tuesday, he issued some strong words, saying there’s simply no more room across the five boroughs for asylum seekers. However, Gov. Kathy Hochul has said she doesn’t want them upstate.
“Any plan that states that all migrants must stay in New York City, that’s a failed plan. Any plan that does not include stopping the flow at the border is a failed plan,” Adams said.
It was tough talk from the mayor as his plea for help from the state and the Biden administration left him stymied in his pursuit of solutions to the ever-increasing number of asylum seekers arriving in New York City.
Adams went on the warpath after a letter from Homeland Security Secretary Aljandro Mayorkas slammed him for structural and operational issues in the way the city has dealt with the asylum seeker influx.
Although Mayorkas did not promise more aid, he did offer New York 11 sites to build shelters.
“The answer to this question is not can we find more places for migrants to fit in New York City and in New York state. That’s just not the answer. The answer is how do we stop the flow,” Adams said.
The federal sites are a new flashpoint of contention with the governor because many are not in the five boroughs and Hochul apparently doesn’t want asylum seekers anywhere else.
Homeland security officials refused to identify the locations, but CBS New York has learned they include:
- Camp Smith in Westchester
- Stewart Airport in New Windsor
- Three sites in Schenectady
- Massena International Airport
- The Army Reserve Center on Staten Island
- An IRS building in Long Island City
- The Marine Corps Reserve Center at Floyd Bennett Field that officials have determined is not suitable
Last week, Hochul made her opposition to upstate sites clear.
“We cannot and will not force other parts of our state to shelter migrants,” Hochul said.
But Mayor Adams said too bad.
“Are you saying that if there are federal sites that are available beyond the five boroughs that you will send migrants there even if she doesn’t want them?” CBS New York’s Marcia Kramer asked.
“We don’t have an option. New York City has run out of room,” Adams replied. “We are going to use any space that’s available to take the pressure off of New York City residents.”
The mayor said his team will evaluate all the federal sites. The feds are also offering the Atlantic City airport.
The press secretary for the governor sent CBS New York the following statement:
“It’s unfortunate that the Mayor is choosing to point fingers at the state – which continues to provide the City with unprecedented amounts of financial support – rather than working collaboratively to manage this crisis. Governor Hochul knows that New Yorkers want their leaders to focus on solutions, which is why she is working more individuals on the path to work authorization so they can move out of shelter and into permanent housing.”