- Eric Adams is sending asylum seekers in New York City to upstate New York, drawing criticism from local officials.
- Adams has been critical of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for sending migrants from Texas to New York City.
- Now, officials upstate have shared similar critiques of Adams.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams is taking a page out of some Republican governors’ playbook: He’s sending a group of asylum seekers somewhere else for some other municipality to handle.
In doing so, Adams appears to be passing asylum seekers off – just as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did when he had migrants bussed from his state to New York, the Associated Press reported. And just as Adams bristled at Abbott’s move, local officials upstate are not happy either.
This game of political hot potato involves the lives of about 300 adult men, a tiny fraction of the number of asylum seekers crossing the southern US border.
“This new, voluntary program will provide asylum-seekers with temporary housing, access to services, and connections to local communities as they build a stable life in New York state,” Adams said in a press release on Friday.
Adams plans to transport the migrants to hotels in Orangeburg and Orange Lake in upstate New York.
In a previous press release on Monday, Adams described Abbott’s strategy — which is not that dissimilar to his own — as “morally bankrupt.”
“Despite Abbott’s inhumane actions, New York City will continue to do all it can to handle this influx, but this crisis is more than one city can handle,” Adams said on Monday.
A spokesperson for Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Saturday. But Abbott has long complained that his state is forced to deal with the brunt of the migrant crisis, which is the purview of the federal government, while states far from the southern border cast aspersions.
Abbott has also bussed migrants to Chicago. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot complained in a letter last week that Chicago didn’t have the resources to take them and asked Abbott to stop “this inhumane and dangerous” action.
Abbott responded with his own letter, telling Lightfoot to take her complaints to President Joe Biden.
US Customs and Border Protection reported that in March, the number of “unique individuals” encountered at the border was more than 120,000, up from about 100,000 people in February. In April, US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said CBP apprehended more than 22,000 people in one 72-hour period.
The influx comes as the federal government is set to adopt a new regulation on May 11 that will deny asylum to migrants who pass through another country on their way to the United States without seeking protection elsewhere first, or who use illegal paths to enter the United States.
Title 42, a policy first enacted in 1944 that allows the removal of migrants who come from a country where a communicable disease is present, is also due to end next week. The policy allowed border officials to expel migrants more than 2.7 million times since former President Donald Trump invoked the policy in March 2020.
Migrants have the right to seek asylum in another country if their lives are threatened at home. Many migrants now coming to the United States from South America are fleeing danger in their home countries, including gang violence, gender-based violence, and LGBTQ persecution.
The huge numbers of migrants seeking asylum have overwhelmed the southern US border in recent years, sparking a national political debate over immigration. Southern states have long shouldered the burden of that crisis.
Now, just as Adams decried Abbott’s “inhuman actions” by bussing immigrants to his city, local officials in Rockland County and Orange County are making similar objections to Adams’ plan.
“This is akin to taking a nonswimmer, dropping him in the middle of the ocean, and hoping he does well,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day told the AP.
“Who are these guys? Were they properly vetted? What are they going to be doing? Are they going to be roaming around the town?” Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus told the AP.
In the last year, some 60,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City, the mayor’s office said in Friday’s press release. Adams has asked the federal government for a “national decompression strategy” to help address the migrant crisis.
“With a vacuum of leadership, we are now being forced to undertake our own decompression strategy,” Adams said in the press release.