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Transcript: Mayor Eric Adams Appears on MSNBC's the Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart

September 18, 2022

Jonathan Capehart: Vice President Harris calling this a political stunt is a valid assessment. These aren't game pieces on a chess board. There are thousands of desperate people seeking refuge. It's shameful and it's cruel. But that's also the point, isn't it? The governors of Texas and Florida are busing and flying asylum seekers to places like Martha's Vineyard and the Vice President's residence in Washington, in an effort to, how does one say, own the libs. In New York City, six bus loads arrived on Saturday packed with people who had ridden at least 18 hours across the country. I spoke with New York City Mayor Adams this morning. Welcome back to the Sunday Show, Mayor Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you very much. Good to be with you.

Capehart: So Mr. Mayor, the last time we talked, nearly 11,000 migrants had been sent to New York City from Texas. You've not been shy about talking about the strain the migrants have put on city services. Have you given any thought to sending the migrants back to Texas or any place outside of New York City?

Mayor Adams: No, I don't think that's appropriate. And it just really goes in contradiction to who we believe we are. Not only as a country, but particularly as a city. This is a city that has right-to-shelter and is a safe haven city as well. We would love to coordinate with our partners throughout the state that feel as though they would like to share in these obligations that we have. But it's going to be done in a coordinated fashion. It is not going to be done in an underhanded way, as you have witnessed from the Florida governor and the governor of Texas.

Capehart: Sometimes we hear from Republicans and certainly in Texas and Florida that, well, why shouldn't sanctuary cities like New York, Washington, Chicago, bear their, "fair share" of the burden when it comes to these migrants? What do you say to that argument?

Mayor Adams: Well, I believe that our legal, moral responsibility of being a right-to-shelter city is something that we live up to. But this is a sanctuary country. Let's be clear, even if it's not in the laws of each state, this is a country that has always allowed people to pursue the American dream. And in both those individuals would go into their lineage, they would realize that they came from somewhere as well, and they should think and reflect on that when they talk about treating individuals as we are treating them. But Jonathan, this is part of the overall attempt to move people away from what these governors have done around the women's right to choose, around gun laws, around some of the erosion of basic human rights that we're seeing. And this is a continuation of that. And I say to them that we can coordinate our way as Americans to deal with this crisis. This is a humanitarian crisis that was created by human hands.

Capehart: I'm glad you said that, because it segues nicely into the next question I was going to ask you. And that is, have you had any conversations, you, yourself, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott on either migrants or the immigration issue writ large?

Mayor Adams: When we first discovered that the Texas governor was actually orchestrating this political showmanship, we reached out to the office and stated, let's coordinate this crisis together and figure out how to address this together. And he should coordinate with every city and state that the buses are passing through. They gave indications that they would, and they did not. They never coordinated. They continued to send the buses. Even last night we got a minimum of six buses and that was never done. And that is not how you handle crisis. You handle crisis through coordinations.

Capehart: You've been dealing with busloads of migrants coming to New York City for months now. I'm wondering your reaction when you heard the news that migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard and now we're finding out that there are indications that those migrants were lied to, to get them on those planes and sent to Martha's Vineyard.

Mayor Adams: And that's what we found out during our preliminary conversations with those migrants and asylum seekers that came to New York. We were told that they were given misinformation. Some of them were tagged as you're treating cattle. Some of them were dealing with COVID issues. Some tested positive for COVID, lack of food, dehydrated, no attention to the medical care, and many wanted to go to other destinations and they were not allowed to do so. Instead, they were placed on the bus to New York and basically told to get out of dodge in 24 to 48 hours. It's unacceptable. And so when I saw what happened to Martha's Vineyard and to the Vice President's house, it clearly showed that this was not coming from Florida, where DeSantis was stating these were migrants that were in Florida. This was part of a political ploy and that's what we need to understand. This is to cover up the erosion of human rights that both those governors have been participating in, and they're attempting to really show other ways that they are eroding the human rights of individuals, even those new arrivals.

Capehart: Mayor Adams, we've got less than 30 seconds left. So in one word, how would you describe what Governor Abbott and Governor DeSantis are doing with migrants in this way?

Mayor Adams: Inhumane, anti-American.

Capehart: The 110th Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams. Mr. Mayor, thank you very much, as always for coming back to the Sunday Show.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.


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