New York City Mayor Eric Adams attributed the necessity to slash billions of dollars from city programs, including police, fire, and sanitation services, to the federal government on Monday evening. This decision is in response to the increased expenses incurred due to the influx of new migrants.
“DC has abandoned us, and they need to be paying their cost to this national problem,” Adams stated.
Since last year, the city has been inundated with over 125,000 migrants, with about half still reliant on its support. This situation has led to significant financial strain, necessitating the funding of tent facilities and covering hotel expenses across all five boroughs, Politico reports.
Consequently, last week the city declared various service reductions, including the removal of certain public trash bins, reduced support for libraries, and the cancellation of new police officer training classes.
Addressing Coney Island residents with over three dozen city and elected officials at a dais behind him, the Democratic mayor persistently attributed the city's escalating migrant-related expenses to the federal government, highlighting the issue of migrants being unable to secure legal work permits.
“This is unfair what we’re doing to migrant asylum seekers, and it’s unfair what we’re doing to everyday taxpayers,” Adams said.
The conflict with Washington has strained relations between Adams and both the White House and President Joe Biden, whom he hasn't communicated with in almost a year. Nonetheless, Adams remains unrepentant, asserting that the president should intensify efforts to assist the nation's most populous city.
“I tell people all the time when they stop me on the subway system, ‘Don’t yell at me, yell at DC,’” Adams asserted. “We deserve better as a city.”
In September, Mayor Adams implemented a citywide hiring freeze in response to the crisis-related spending. The city has already allocated approximately $1.5 billion for the migrant surge this fiscal year, ending June 30, and anticipates spending around $11 billion in the next two years, as per his latest budget proposal.
While the federal and state governments have contributed about $1.5 billion in aid, the issue's complexity and expense have significantly burdened the city's budget, affecting services and programs.
Adams recently declared $4 billion in budget reductions over the upcoming 18 months to bridge a $7.1 billion shortfall before the new fiscal year starting July 1.
The budget reductions are also affecting migrant services, with the administration aiming for a 20% cut in "asylum-seeker expenses." While Mayor Adams frequently blames the federal government, and Governor Kathy Hochul also seeks more support from President Biden, her approach lacks Adams' sharp criticism.
Adams' appeals for aid are complicated by a federal investigation into his campaign finances. He had planned to meet White House officials for more assistance, alongside other major city mayors, but returned to New York due to the FBI's inquiry, missing the federal meetings.
To cover legal expenses from this investigation, Adams has established a legal defense fund, as reported by Politico.
Adams, when asked by reporters about the defense fund, directed their attention to the constituents who had gathered to take a photo with him following the event, stated, “Do you see all these people that love me? People love me as mayor. So they have the right to do whatever they want when they love their mayor. … That’s what America’s about.”
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