NYC Mayor Eric Adams asks the White House to declare a state of emergency over asylum seekers

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday called for the federal government to declare a state of emergency to manage the “crisis” at the border, saying the influx of asylum seekers could end up costing the city billions of dollars in the coming years.

Adams said more than 57,000 migrants are under the city’s care on an average night and nearly 100,000 asylum seekers have sought shelter there since last year.

At a news conference Wednesday, Adams said a federal state of emergency would “allow federal funds to be allocated quickly to help address the urgent challenges we face.”

New York has spent $1.45 billion during fiscal year 2023 on shelter, food and services for asylum seekers and could eventually spend “upwards of $12 billion” from fiscal years 2023-25 without policy changes or further support, the mayor’s office said. The Adams administration is calling on the federal government to provide more reimbursements for costs incurred by the city.

Adams’ request echoes those of other politicians, mostly Republicans, who have called for President Joe Biden to declare a national emergency. Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter with a similar request in 2021, the same year more than two dozen House Republicans signed a letter asking Biden to declare a national emergency at the southern border.

Several Democratic state and local leaders have declared state of emergencies of their own due to rising numbers of migrants. Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, while Chicago and New York state issued emergency declarations earlier this year.

Adams declared a state of emergency for New York City in October.

The number of encounters at the U.S. border declined immediately following the lifting of Covid restrictions known as Title 42 in mid-May, NBC News previously reported.

When reached for comment on Adams’ request, an official from the Department of Homeland Security pointed to the “more than $140 million in federal funding to New York City, more than any other interior city.”

DHS this week also sent a team of experts to work with New York officials to identify how the state and federal governments can “improve efficiencies and maximize resources” for the migrant situation, the official said. After a review with city officials, the team will report recommended steps to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“The administration will continue to collaborate directly with city and state officials to coordinate our efforts and we continue to call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” the official said.

In his remarks Wednesday, Adams said his administration appreciated the federal government sending a team from the DHS, but “there’s more they can do.” He also said the city would not “abandon our brothers and sisters seeking the American dream.”

“We have done more than any city to provide for so many migrants in such a short period of time,” Adams said. “We have met a historic crisis with historic compassion, and while we are past our breaking point, we never just slammed the door of opportunity.”

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