3 Fast Facts: Debunking NYC Mayor Adams’ Statements on Asylum Seekers

New York–NYC Mayor Adams has released a FY2024 preliminary budget that does little to address the increase in new arrivals to New York City and the challenges facing all low-income families. Yet he continues to stoke division by misleading the public with MAGA talking points, scapegoating asylum seekers to justify his austerity budget.

Three Fast Facts Debunking NYC Mayor Adams’ Statements:

  1. NYC Mayor Adams is scapegoating immigrants for his failure to resolve New York City’s shelter crisis. New York City has an affordability and shelter crisis NOT a “migrant” crisis. The affordability and shelter crisis existed long before asylum seekers began to arrive in NYC in 2022. Due to NYC’s Right to Shelter law, all NYC residents must have access to temporary shelter.  However, a lack of affordable housing has increased pressure on our shelter system resulting in increased lengths of stay, as well as overcrowded and inadequate conditions for residents. Housing experts and immigrant advocates have suggested solutions, like expanding eligibility of CityFEPS, a rental assistance supplement to help individuals and families find and keep housing, and other voucher programs to include families and individuals, regardless of immigration status. Instead, the Mayor has chosen to skirt our Right to Shelter law by focusing on temporary housing for asylum seekers rather than resolve the shelter and affordability crisis impacting thousands of New Yorkers.
  2. Help from the federal government has arrived. Congress has allocated $800M to NYC and other localities welcoming new arrivals, yet Mayor Adams is pretending that NYC is bearing the financial costs of integration alone. Congress passed an omnibus bill in December of 2022, which includes $800 million for cities across the nation to support the integration of asylum seekers, with a substantial proportion going to New York. Moreover, the Mayor’s own estimates of the financial response for new arrivals amounts to less than 1% of his total FY24 budget. The NYC Comptroller’s estimate is even lower at $1 billion for FY24, and the Independent Budget Office’s estimate is at $628 million for FY24 (with a $2 billion surplus in the City’s overall budget). Despite this infusion of funding from the federal government, Mayor Adams has not made any significant allocations to immigrants or asylum seekers in his FY24 budget and continues to falsely imply that New York City is “at our breaking point” with no help forthcoming from Washington.
  3. Mayor Adams is a flip-flopper fanning the flames of division. In July 2022, Mayor Adams said “New York has been and will always be a city of immigrants that welcomes newcomers with open arms,” but now he says, “there’s no more room at the inn.” When asylum seekers first started arriving in the summer of 2022, Mayor Adams was happy to provide a counter-narrative to the callous actions of Texas Governor Abbott. But fast-forward six months, and the Mayor is holding press conferences in El Paso, Texas deploying the same MAGA talking points as Governor Abbott, instead of staying home to actually resolve the shelter crisis that is hurting too many New York families. All the while, NYC is home to 3.2 million immigrants, most of whom are naturalized U.S. citizens and owners of 52% of NYC’s businesses. In 2017, immigrants contributed an estimated $195 billion to the city’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or about 22% of the city’s total GDP. Mayor Adams had it right in July 2022: “New York has been and will always be a city of immigrants.”