New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) isn’t having a lot of luck finding housing for illegal immigrants. The undocumented are flooding in, and there aren’t enough facilities to shelter them. Even some of his own party members are not happy with the way he has handled the issue. Just how bad is the NYC migrant situation?
NYC Migrants Overwhelming the Big Apple
Adams has changed his view drastically since he began experiencing the problems southern border states have long suffered. In October 2021, he tweeted: “‘We should protect our immigrants.’ Period. Yes, New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration.” And then, a year later: “There is a reason that Lady Liberty sits outside of NYC’s harbor. This is the place where we ensure we live up to the expectations of what it is to be an American, an American citizen, or a country that welcomes those fleeing prosecution and persecution.”
But oh, how things have changed in those two years. Adams now says the Big Apple cannot sustain its recent influx of migrants and even warned citizens in a press conference that the 110,000 who have already entered will “destroy New York City … The city we knew, we’re about to lose.” The mayor is also now against the right-to-shelter policy. What happened to protecting and helping all migrants?
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said four months ago that most of the migrants are just looking for humanitarian relief and have a “right to seek asylum in this country,” adding that they are “absolutely here legally.” However, even she reversed her opinion lately, saying, “If you’re going to leave your country, go somewhere else.”
Adams has tried several tactics, including investing more than $1 billion in hotel room rentals over the next three years. And that is just for the more than 100 hotels that have been converted to house migrants, not other services, shelters, and amenities provided for them. “’Why are we extending this contract for three years? It sends the message of not wanting to reduce this migrant population,’ said Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow with The Manhattan Institute,” New York Post reported. Even Adams’ own party is putting him in check. Queens Councilman Robert Holden, a Democrat, said:
“The migrant crisis has evolved into a financial boondoggle, with quietly extended contracts fattening the pockets of a few at the taxpayer’s expense.
“It’s time to halt this fiscal recklessness. Let’s send those [migrant] buses to the White House and remember that ‘Right to Shelter’ shouldn’t be misconstrued as a global entitlement.”
Of course, the hotels are coming out ahead, with the city paying an average of $185 per day per room.
In Manhattan, there is a right-to-shelter mandate from 1981 that Adams – with Hochul’s support – has moved to suspend. On Sept. 26, Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Wayne Ozzi ordered that immigrants be removed from the St. John Villa Academy building, which had been used as a temporary migrant housing, citing that a right-to-shelter policy probably doesn’t exist in the state’s constitution. Ozzi wrote:
“[I]f there were a right to shelter embedded in the State Constitution, all county and local municipalities upstate would be compelled to provide shelter to any and all migrant asylum seekers within their borders. Obviously they have not. A right to shelter, if it exists, would apply statewide, not just in New York City.”
“The city purchased the academy after it closed in 2018, and despite promises to make the location a school once again, officials went ahead with plans to move 300 migrants into the site,” WABC reported. Citizens protested its use as a migrant facility because of its close proximity to other schools.
Adams continues to struggle to find accommodations and resources, at taxpayers’ expense, to care for NYC migrants. As Liberty Nation Managing Editor Mark Angelides wrote, “On Monday, August 7, New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared that Randalls Island will be home to the first officially sanctioned illegal migrant encampment in the Big Apple.” Aside from setting up tent cities and taking over hotels, the lawmaker has also asked residents to rent rooms in their home to migrants.
And if that isn’t enough, the city recently purchased a nursing home, forcing the residents to move with little notice, according to a Fox News report. Frank Tammaro, a 95-year-old Korean War veteran who was displaced, said: “The thing I’m annoyed about is how they did it, it was very disgraceful what they did to the people in Island Shores.” He said that although they were given some time to move, they weren’t given the opportunity to protest:
“Then one day there was a notice on the board. I think that gave us a month and a half to find out where we were going to go. I thought my suitcases were going to be on the curb because I’m not that fast.”
“Everything was done behind closed doors – we didn’t have a chance to actually make any attempt to stop them because there wasn’t enough time,” Tammaro added.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and Tammaro held a press conference on how the city is handling the migrant crisis. She said the deal between Homes for the Homeless and the city to turn Island Shores into a migrant shelter was “showing our country and our city’s priorities are backwards.” She continued:
“Our tax dollars as citizens of New York should not be utilized to house citizens of other countries, especially at the expense of our senior citizens and veterans who put their lives on the line, paid taxes their whole lives and built our communities.”
A poll conducted by Siena College found that 82% of New Yorkers believe the migrant surge is a “serious” problem, while 54% said it is a “very serious” issue. Liberty Nation recently reported on President Joe Biden’s low approval rating on immigration, indicating only 23% approve of his handling of the border crisis.
According to Howard Wolfson, a former deputy mayor and political adviser for former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the immigration issue is affecting the Democratic Party as a whole. “There is no question in my mind that the politics of this is a disaster to Democrats,” he told The New York Times. He said the issue is a “ticking time bomb” for the party. “This issue alone has the potential to cost Democrats the House, because it is such a huge issue in New York City and the coverage of it is clearly heard and seen by voters in all of these swing districts in the suburbs.”