By Carol Tannenhauser
Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency in New York City on Friday, resulting from the influx of roughly 17,000 migrants, mostly from South America, into the city’s homeless shelter system, bringing the total number of shelter residents to over 61,000, an historic record.
“The mayor’s declaration allows the city to open emergency relief centers more quickly by exempting them from the normal land-use and community-review process that often slows the opening of shelters,” The New York Times explained.
A shelter for roughly 30 migrant families was opened at the Park West Hotel on Central Park West between 103rd and 104th Streets, on the Upper West Side.
The migrants were bussed to the city by Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, essentially to make a statement: America’s immigration system is dysfunctional and so-called “sanctuary cities” need to share the responsibility. Abbott sent the buses to New York City (and Washington, DC) without prior notification — and has kept them coming steadily since April.
“Our right-to-shelter laws, our social services, and our values are being exploited by others for political gain,” Adams said in a press conference at City Hall. “New Yorkers are angry. I am angry, too.”
At first the city met the challenge gamely, welcoming, housing, feeding, providing social services and health care, including vaccinations, and other essentials to the migrants — and enrolling 5,500 of their children in school. “But though our compassion is limitless, our resources are not,” Adams said. He called for “emergency federal and state aid to handle the continued influx of asylum seekers as the city projects costs of more than $1 billion related to asylum seekers in this fiscal year alone,” according to a press release, “as well as expedited work permits, a national decompression strategy, and a resettlement strategy.”
“Today we’re issuing a clear message,” Adams said: “The time for aid to New York City is now. We need help from the federal government, help from the State of New York.” Adams told The New York Times that “he had spoken to Mr. Biden recently about the crisis and that Mr. Biden and Ms. Hochul understood the challenges that the city is facing.” He also said a spokesman from Senator Chuck Schumer’s office is “working with the New York delegation to secure resources and to get the Biden administration to do all it can to be helpful.”