Eric Adams blasts FEMA for limited asylum-seeker funds, will move migrants out of NYC

Eric Adams blasts FEMA for limited asylum-seeker funds, will move migrants out of NYC

NEW YORK — New York City will receive a fraction of the federal aid it applied for to manage the asylum-seeker crisis, a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams said Friday — the same day the mayor announced a new program to send asylum-seekers to locations outside the five boroughs.

The administration applied for $350 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for costs associated with shelters, food and health care services for migrants. On Friday, the Adams administration learned it will be receiving only $30 million.

“Let us be very clear: This is both disappointing and woefully insufficient for a city that has carried the cost of sheltering, feeding, and supporting more than 60,000 asylum-seekers in the last year,” mayoral spokesperson Fabien Levy said in a statement. “New Yorkers have stepped up tremendously throughout this crisis and we look forward to working closely with our congressional delegation to remedy this serious mistake.”

The Department of Homeland Security explained in a press release that the $322 million it earmarked Friday primary went to border communities like El Paso, Tx., which has been one of the main entry points for migrants coming to the country via Mexico.

“This first round of funding was focused primarily on the needs of border communities due to the urgencies they are confronting,” the department said in a statement. “Several interior cities also received funding. The City of New York received the most of any interior city by a significant margin given its challenges.”

The agency added that it would be dishing out a second round of funding totaling $360 million that will be focused on municipalities beyond the border that have also been destinations for asylum-seekers.

“It is anticipated that New York will again receive a significant share in that round,” the release noted.

Regardless, the snub to New York City is likely to add more tension to the relationship between Adams and President Joe Biden. Adams is one of the 20 top surrogates for the president’s reelection campaign. He has also been increasingly outspoken about the need for asylum-seeker aid, and has been calling out the White House and Biden by name.

On Friday, the mayor also announced a new program that would send New York City asylum seekers to the Hudson Valley in an effort to reduce the strain on the municipal budget and city shelters. Single men already in the city’s care will have the option to spend four months in Orange Lake and Orangeburg north of the city.

While details about the arrangement’s origins were unclear, Adams seemed to suggest New York City struck a deal on its own after failing to receive assistance from the federal government and the administration of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Earlier this year, New York City declared a state of emergency and asked the state to help move migrants to other locations in New York.

“Despite calling on the federal government for a national decompression strategy since last year, and for a decompression strategy across the state, New York City has been left without the necessary support to manage this crisis. With a vacuum of leadership, we are now being forced to undertake our own decompression strategy,” Adams said in a statement.

The new program, however, will do little to solve the city’s problems.

Next week, a federal border policy called Title 42 is set to expire, and with it, tens of thousands of migrants currently waiting along the southern border are expected to enter the country and eventually make their way to cities including New York. A CNN report Friday indicated that, in anticipation, the city is looking to potentially house migrants in tents in Central Park, unused airplane hangers or building container homes.

“We have reached our limit of new shelters that we can open right now, and we currently have no other option but to temporarily house recent arrivals in gyms,” Levy, the mayoral spokesperson, said in a statement. “This week alone, we received hundreds of asylum seekers every day, and with Title 42 set to be lifted next week, we expect more to arrive in our city daily. We are considering a multitude of options, but, as we’ve been saying for a year, we desperately need federal and state support to manage this crisis.”


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