May 16, 2023
Bianca Peters: So the end of Title 42 last week did not bring the surge of asylum seekers that officials have expected, but New York is still accepting new arrivals, many being busted from border states like Texas.
Rosanna Scotto: Thousands have arrived here. More than 4,200 migrants arrived in New York City last week alone, and officials here are scrambling to find them housing. Some migrants will now be housed in hotels in the city and upstate, others inside schools and gyms, all amid much pushback and outrage from the communities and local leaders. Joining us right now from City Hall, Mayor Eric Adams. Nice to have you back on Good Day.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you, Rosanna. Good to see you both.
Scotto: Mayor, how would you describe the migrant crisis here in New York City right now?
Mayor Adams: I think the same way I have been describing it for several months now. I'm really calling on all of us to take notice that this is going to impact every city service that we deliver to the people of this city. And it's just wrong. New York City should not be carrying a burden of a national problem.
Scotto: At what point do you say, "We cannot accept any more migrants. We've done our share" and you actually challenge the Right to Shelter law?
Mayor Adams: We are saying that now that we've done our share, and —
Scotto: But are you doing the legal action to challenge the Right to Shelter law?
Mayor Adams: Here's what we did. I put out an executive order to look at aspects of the Right to Shelter to make sure that we are not treating this migrant crisis the way the Right to Shelter law was put in place to do. 40 years ago, no one would have [fathom] that you would get 65,000 people showing up at the city's doorsteps. Over 4,200, as you stated, just this week alone. And so we have to make sure we treat this as the man-made humanitarian crisis that it is.
Scotto: Wait, I'm still confused. Did the city sue to stop the migrants from coming to New York? At what point do we say there's no more room at the end?
Mayor Adams: We've said that over and over again. I've been on this show several times saying that. I was criticized by those who are advocates and elected officials who in one breath states that they don't want any migrants in their districts, but at the same time they're pushing back on the city. And so we are still going to take every actions, both legal, and how do we carry out our role here to make sure we ensure that this is not a burden that is only on New York. And that's why you saw the movement that we've done. We have done moving migrants that want to go upstate to different locales. We are going to continue to do everything possible to manage this crisis.
Peters: Well, let's kind of expand on that because I know last month in May, that's when you signed the emergency executive order suspending city's Right to Shelter rules. However, does this apply to U.S. citizens because we're seen in Yonkers homeless people, homeless women with their children being pushed out after they have to pay $150 a night to house migrants who pay nothing?
Mayor Adams: No, that is not what we are supporting. Just as here in New York City, we have balanced the thousands of homeless people in this city. We are doing the same no matter where we make a contract outside the state. We are clear. We're not displacing those who are there and we're not taking away from those who need emergency service or emergency housing and those municipalities. We're not doing that. Our goal is to manage a crisis that we're facing in partnership with the entire state. New York City is the economic engine of this state even in the millionaire tax alone —
Peters: It's the —
Mayor Adams: ... 50 percent of New Yorkers pay that amount. And we are only 42 percent of this state. We're in this together and the governor understands that. I understand that. And we have to coordinate throughout the entire state.
Peters: We understand it's the economic engine. That engine is being run dry. There is no more gasoline to put in it when we are having to pay for this migrant crisis. I would love if you could follow up with Savannah Harp who was 24, who was forced to change her 18-month-old outside of the Ramada Inn that she was forced to be kicked out of essentially to make room for those migrants, to see you follow up, to see if that's actually true and where she's at now as a homeless person. But talk to us about what you're dealing with in other counties. I know you're trying to bust the migrants there and have them help out as well. They don't want to and they have their reasons for it. What is your relationship with the county executives in Rockland, Orange counties?
Mayor Adams: Well, first I'm going to really respond to the first part of your question. We are going to reach out and find out what happened there because we are not encouraging anyone from being displaced. That is not our goal. And when you look at the other counties, they are getting one quarter of 1 percent of what we have here in New York City. One quarter of 1 percent. Think about that for a moment.
We are carrying this entire burden. This national problem is being laid in the lap of New Yorkers. And I've said this over and over again and I need everyone to pay attention to what I've been saying for these last few months. This is an unsustainable crisis that's been forced on New Yorkers and is going to continue to grow if there's not a real response at our border and if there's not assistance of a decompression strategy here in New York State. And ladies, you know I have been talking about this. This is not new. I stated that this is what is going to happen in our state.
Scotto: I know, but it seems so frustrating. Now you're putting migrants in school gyms. Now, I know Mr. Mayor how you feel about wellbeing, health, exercise. This must be going against your grain and yet you're displacing our students for people who are not paying taxes and living here. I don't know. It just seems mind-boggling that we're doing this on the backs of our kids.
Mayor Adams: You see that frustration you just showed. I've been feeling that frustration for the last nine, 10 months as I watch our city go through this. And let's be clear on the plan with the school gyms. These are 20 self-standing gyms that currently is on our list of potential locations. We have not identified that this is going to happen. This is not every school gym in our cities. These are self-standing gyms that are not inside the school buildings. And they're one of the areas that we are looking at. We are not there yet to state that this is going to be happening. We still look at the other 19 other gyms and state if we are going to move them there, but we have to create a list of locations because the flow has not stopped and it doesn't look like it's going to stop.
Scotto: I know, but they said that there were migrants at the Coney Island gym and now they're being shipped off to Staten Island today because there's going to be a protest outside Coney Island. What is this? A whack-a-mole every day with trying to keep an eye on where the migrants are being housed?
Mayor Adams: No, it's not a whack-a-mole. It is managing a crisis. The busloads are coming in. We could potentially get 15 busloads over the weekend. 4,200 last week. When you manage a crisis, you have to move according to the crisis as you plan the long term plan into this, which we are doing at the same time. So is managing a crisis something that I'm familiar with because I went through crises. From 9/11 to the hurricanes, throughout my entire professional career, I had to manage crises. You know what I say to New Yorkers? Thank God I'm the mayor right now as we manage these difficult crises because it's something I had to do throughout my professional career as an adult.
Scotto: Where the heck is the president of the United States?
Mayor Adams: That is a good question. I think we all should be asking why is this happening to a city that was turning itself around and will continue to do so? This should not be happening to New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the other big northern cities and really should not be happening to El Paso or Brownsville, Texas. No cities should be carrying this burden. This is a national problem and it needs a national solution.
Peters: Well, it's time to open up Randalls Island again. I know we closed it recently, but —
Scotto: Yeah, are those tents going to come back out?
Mayor Adams: Everything is on the table. As we continue to get this influx, we are going to have to manage it. Every day we are managing what we are facing. And I just really want New Yorkers to understand this is what I have been saying for months, that we can't get to this moment, but today we woke up and we are at this moment and I have to manage it.
Scotto: Mayor Adams, thank you so much for coming on Good Day New York.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.
Scotto: Thank you for fighting for New Yorkers because we feel like we're being taken advantage of.
Mayor Adams: And I cannot agree with you more.
Scotto: All right. Thank you so much.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.