Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign to demand that the federal government take over the growing immigration crisis has finally reached the U.S. Capitol.
“Today, I am calling for a national response to the asylum seeker crisis,” Adams said Wednesday during a speech at the winter session of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.
Adams laid out a six-point plan to achieve the state’s goals, which included a dedicated staff to coordinate the national response, a border decompression strategy to distract the arrival of immigrants, congressional funding for FEMA, expediting rights-to-work options, and establishing citizenship pathways. Federal legislation, and a national leadership united in pursuit of a common goal.
“The real solution to this problem will come from the executive branch, and a bipartisan effort in our Senate and House of Representatives,” Adams said.
Adams’ call to action comes days after the mayor made an unexpected weekend trip to El Paso. The trip, which gave Adams a first-hand glimpse of the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, was intended to draw attention to the need for more action from the White House.
In recent days, Adams has stepped up pressure on the Biden administration and Washington to step up aid amid a steady influx of asylum seekers into New York City. More than 40,000 asylum seekers have arrived and more than 29,000 remain in the city’s care, city officials said.
The city has so far spent about $366 million on resources such as housing, food and health care for asylum seekers, a price that Adams now says could soar to $2 billion without relief.
When asked by NY1 about a possible meeting with President Joe Biden, Adams said his legislative team was in talks with the White House.
“There is no real coordination on this crisis. That coordination should come from the national level. But if the national level is not going to respond, then we have an obligation as mayors to coordinate with ourselves,” Adams told reporters.
Adams thanked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries for helping secure funding through the omnibus bill, which has allocated $825 million to respond to the crisis.
The city also received $8 million from FEMA and another $2 million from Sen. Schumer’s office.
On Wednesday night, mayors from across the country are expected to meet behind closed doors on the immigration crisis. It was unclear whether Adams’ plan had the support of other top leaders.
In an interview with POLITICO on Wednesday, Adams said there was “no more room” for asylum seekers, and he floated the idea of using cruise ships. The idea of housing migrants on cruise ships was first reported as an emergency site in September.
“If it means using cruise ships, if it means finding space on state land, in my conversation with the governor, we will continue to adapt and shift to address the influx of immigrants and asylum seekers. Nothing is left desktop,” Adams said to Sally Goldenberg.
The mayor is expected to return to the city on Thursday, according to his staff.