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Mayor Adams' Statement on Governor Hochul's Asylum Seeker Address

August 24, 2023

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today released the following statement after New York Governor Kathy Hochul provided an address on the asylum seeker crisis in New York:

"We appreciate Governor Hochul's acknowledgement of the incredible work that New York City has done to manage the influx of tens of thousands of asylum seekers in the last year, and we are gratified to hear that she is calling for immediate federal action. Since the spring of 2022, our city has borne the brunt of a national crisis – providing shelter and care for a population greater than the entire city of Albany. Confronted with the unsolicited arrival of more than 104,000 men, women, and children, many of whom went through hell to arrive in this country and are now seeking asylum, the city has already opened 206 emergency shelters – twice as many as we had open four short months ago – and, if things do not change, we're on track to spend more than $12 billion over three fiscal years.

"The status quo cannot continue. Put simply, New York City has largely managed this national crisis – a crisis that we believe New York state has an important role in helping to solve – alone. Although we're disappointed that the state today appears to minimize the role that they can – and must – play in responding to this crisis, the state must fulfil its duty to more than 8 million of the state's residents who call New York City home. Whatever differences we all may have about how to handle this crisis, we believe what is crystal clear is that whatever obligations apply under state law to the City of New York apply with equal force to every county across New York state. Leaving New York City alone to manage this crisis – and abdicating the state's responsibility to coordinate a statewide response – is unfair to New York City residents who also didn't ask to be left almost entirely on their own in the middle of a national crisis.

"We cannot continue this seemingly endless race of opening shelters just days – and sometimes hours – ahead of the rate of new arrivals. We will lose that race. We've been clear about the systemic changes we need – changes that, in the long run, will become an investment in our state and our country's workforce. We've been saying it since last year: We need the federal government to allow asylum seekers to work, so they can provide for themselves and their families. We also need the state and the federal government to implement decompression strategies, so no one municipality has to manage a disproportionate share of this crisis. Further, we are asking the governor to ask the federal government to declare a state of emergency, so we can more easily access additional resources. And we are asking the governor to use her powers to prevent counties from issuing exclusionary emergency orders and give us the resources needed to get people out of shelter, so that they can move on to the next steps in their journeys."

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