EL PASO — Greater than 2,000 miles from New York Metropolis, Mayor Eric Adams stood exterior a church in Texas on Sunday and advised a gaggle of migrants that he would struggle for them to have the ability to work and to “expertise the American dream.”
Because the mayor’s phrases had been translated into Spanish, the group started to clap and cheer.
However the mayor’s optimistic message contrasted along with his troublesome mission on his journey to the southern border — he’s making an attempt to extend strain on President Biden to offer federal assist to New York Metropolis, which is coping with an inflow of migrants. He’s displaying compassion for individuals whose lives have been upended whereas additionally insisting that they cease coming to his metropolis.
The migrant disaster has develop into considered one of Mr. Adams’s biggest challenges as mayor. Greater than 40,000 individuals have arrived unexpectedly in New York Metropolis over the previous yr, straining the town’s funds in addition to its system for sheltering homeless individuals.
After weeks of calling for extra assist from the federal authorities, Mr. Adams determined to go to the border. His journey got here one week after Mr. Biden visited El Paso after saying a brand new crackdown on border crossings.
The variety of migrants apprehended whereas making an attempt to illegally cross the border has hit document highs. The Border Patrol encountered 1.7 million migrants making an attempt to cross illegally within the 12 months main as much as October 2021, essentially the most since 1960.
Mr. Adams, a Democrat coming into his second yr in workplace, stored a busy schedule on his 24-hour journey to El Paso and sought to maintain most of it out of the general public eye. Just one occasion was open to reporters: a information convention on Sunday throughout which Mr. Adams referred to as for assist from federal officers for the locations which can be welcoming migrants.
“Our cities are being undermined — we don’t deserve this,” he stated, earlier than including: “We count on extra from our nationwide leaders to deal with this in an actual approach.”
Mr. Adams stated he would journey to Washington this week to proceed his marketing campaign, and he referred to as on Mr. Biden to nominate a pacesetter on the Federal Emergency Administration Company to coordinate a nationwide response to the disaster.
On Friday, Mr. Adams stated that providers for migrants may price the town as a lot as $2 billion — considerably larger than earlier estimates. Requested on Sunday how a lot he wished the federal authorities to cowl, Mr. Adams stated the “whole price.”
Town comptroller, Brad Lander, stated on Sunday that the mayor’s journey did little to ship cash for New York and “as a substitute, it dangers reinforcing a dangerous narrative that new immigrants themselves are an issue.”
“Removed from ‘undermining’ our metropolis, immigrants have been the driving drive for New York Metropolis’s success for hundreds of years,” Mr. Lander, a Democrat, stated.
On Saturday, Mr. Adams met with Oscar Leeser, the mayor of El Paso, who took him to go to an space the place migrants typically cross the border and a website the place individuals had been sleeping exterior in tenting tents.
The following day, Mr. Adams met once more with Mr. Leeser, a Democrat, and visited Sacred Coronary heart Church, a shelter for migrants, based on Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Mr. Adams who traveled with him.
“The truth of the scenario is that these migrants are being promised issues earlier than they cross the border which can be simply not out there,” Mr. Levy posted on Twitter.
Mr. Adams additionally visited a memorial at a Walmart the place 23 individuals had been killed in a mass capturing in 2019 and a U.S. Customs and Border Safety processing middle.
On Sunday, he reiterated his place that the town couldn’t welcome extra migrants and stated that almost 800 had arrived on a current day.
“New York can not take extra,” he stated. “We are able to’t.”
Within the spring, Republican leaders in Florida and Texas started sending a surge of people that had crossed the southern border searching for asylum to cities with Democratic elected leaders — New York, Washington and Chicago — saying they had been giving a style of the border disaster to left-leaning localities with so-called sanctuary metropolis insurance policies.
Mr. Adams stated in an interview on “PBS NewsHour” on Friday that the Biden administration was inserting a burden on cities like New York.
Saying that 36,000 individuals had appeared “on our doorsteps,” he stated that “we did what any New Yorker would do — we offered for them not solely housing, a spot for them to sleep, with meals, well being care; we educated a considerable variety of youngsters, and we’re additionally offering the mandatory psychological well being assist that’s wanted.”
“However we want assist,” he added.
Mr. Adams traveled to El Paso with a small group of advisers that included Camille Joseph Varlack, his new chief of workers; Zachary Iscol, his commissioner for emergency administration; and Manuel Castro, his commissioner of immigrant affairs. Mr. Iscol helped oversee the creation of an enormous housing middle for migrants on Randalls Island that has since closed; Mr. Castro has welcomed arriving migrants on the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.
At Sacred Coronary heart Church in El Paso on Sunday, a crowd of about 40 migrants gathered exterior after they heard that the mayor was visiting. One lady held a swaddled child, and one other lady fed a toddler rice and beans as they waited to see him. One individual requested aloud if he was there handy out papers to permit migrants to journey to New York.
Mr. Adams stopped to speak with the group and requested one man how he had realized about New York Metropolis.
“Solely in motion pictures and tv,” the person stated in Spanish, and the mayor laughed.