New York Mayor Eric Adams wants to slash half of the city council’s $563 million discretionary fund to help offset the city’s financial woes which is expected to worsen amid the growing migrant crisis.
Adams revealed to the New York Post that he will target the spending of all 51 councillors and sent a message to Council Speaker Adrienne Adams to notify members.
Despite the request, Adams does not have unilateral control over the council’s budget, as the legislative branch sets its own financial blueprint.
The proposed solution comes off the back of two days of hearings focused on the migrant crisis, where members grilled City Hall officials about expenses including Randalls Island mega-shelter tents.
‘We sent out a letter to the Speaker, asking the City Council members to take a 50 percent cut in their discretionary dollars,’ Adams told the outlet.
New York Mayor Eric Adams wants to slash half of the city council’s $563 million discretionary fund to help offset the city’s financial woes amid the growing migrant crisis
Immigrants can be seen seeking asylum and turning themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents after wading across the Rio Grande to El Paso, Texas on Sunday
‘Many of them are, you know, talking about what we need to be doing to help the migrant seekers – so they need to help also.
‘Let’s not spend other people’s money, we need them to take a 50 percent cut in the end of the year so we can contribute and throw the money in a pot.’
Council members have already opposed several cuts directed by the city’s Office of Management and Budget, including slashing agency budgets and eliminating vacant positions across city departments.
A rep for Speaker Adams blamed the mayor of ‘starving’ city agencies, referencing the prior cuts.
‘The council has received no such letter from the administration,’ the spokesperson told the New York Post.
‘The council heard from numerous non-profit organizations filling the gaps of essential work for New Yorkers and asylum seekers in our communities without reimbursement from this administration, these are the recipients of council funding.’
The representative then went on to take a swipe at money pit solutions which have now become defunct.
‘The mayor is starving city agencies of staff and resources, leaving non-profits to fill the gap without his support, and now he wants to take funding away from these non-profit service providers,’ said the spokesperson.
Adams said he would target the spending of all 51 council members and claimed to have sent the cost cutting solution to Council Speaker Adrienne Adams to notify members
Migrants have been seen preparing to cross the US-Mexico border where a bus was seen on Saturday awaiting to transport them
‘When the mayor is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on for-profit contractors to construct tents that go unused but not investing in the non-profit organizations delivering services, it raises serious concerns.
‘The council will always prioritize New Yorkers and the organizations that serve them.’
A source familiar with the directive told the New York Post that the move is a ‘declaration of war’ by Adams on the council.
While an anonymous Democratic council member shot back at Adams, telling the outlet that the mayor should gut his own budget instead.
‘This is a cheap political stunt by the mayor to gut essential services that serve LGBTQ, immigrant and other marginalized communities,’ they said.
‘It’s nothing short of a war with the City Council. He can set an example by cutting his own budget by 50 percent.’
Adams warned on Monday that if he doesn’t get significant financial help from Govenor Kathy Hochul and President Biden soon, then ‘every service’ in the city, from education, sanitation and even the NYPD will be impacted.
The New York City mayor worries that they can expect a crush from migrants flooding into the city, if the pandemic-era federal immigration policy known as Title 42 expires.
The Biden administration had until 5 pm Tuesday to respond to an appeal from 19 Republican-led states begging the federal government to keep the rule in place.
City Hall asked the federal government for $1 billion last month, submitting an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but that request is still pending, the New York Post reported.
Shortly after 1pm Monday, two buses with about 80 people on board arrived at Port Authority in Midtown
Photos taken at Port Authority showed the newcomers, including young children, disembarking at the transit hub, with some wrapped in blankets
The Title 42 border restrictions are a public health order that enabled US authorities to turn back most migrants at the southern border, including people seeking asylum from persecution.
The pandemic-era had been extended from its original endpoint in May but expires on Wednesday, December 21.
At a press conference on Monday, Adams told reporters: ‘We are fortifying ourselves for what we believe could be predictable, to receive a massive increase per week of new asylum seekers and migrants.’
‘I’ve been frustrated throughout my life in public service, but I’ve never been more frustrated than now. This is a national problem. El Paso shouldn’t be going through this, Chicago shouldn’t be going through this, Washington, Houston — cities should not be carrying the weight of a national problem,’ the mayor added.
‘This is unfair for our cities to have to go through this without any help from the national government.’
In September, New York faced an influx of migrants after officials in El Paso, Texas began arranging free direct bus trips to ease crisis overcrowding in the border city.
The program was halted after outcry from Adams and others, though Adams said this week that the influx of asylum seekers to New York had slowed, but not halted, in recent months.
NYC officials said the possibility of re-opening massive tent shelters (above) for migrants was ‘on the table’ as the city weighs its response options
City officials visit the Randall’s Island migrant housing facility in October before its opening
The Randall’s Island facility had a number of plush couches set up in front of large screen TVs for relaxation – but shut down in early November
Adams, in an email sent to city council members and their staff over the weekend, said that conditions could become dire across New York City as it hits capacity for possible shelter.
He wrote: ‘Please be advised that due to the lifting of Title 42 later this week, the City is expecting a higher amount of asylum seeker buses beginning today with 2 buses today and 10-15 more expected in the next two days.’
‘We have diligently advocated for support from our Federal & State partners as we cannot continue to address this issue alone. We’ve already received more than 31,000 asylum seekers into our city, and currently have open 60 emergency shelters, four humanitarian relief centers, and two welcome centers’
The email, obtained by the New York Post, continues: ‘We have been told in no uncertain terms that, beginning today, we should expect an influx of busses coming from the border and that more than 1,000 additional asylum seekers will arrive in New York City every week.’
The declaration coincides with the expiration of Title 42 this week, which former President Donald Trump put in place in March 2020 to stem the spread of COVID-19 into the US from across the southern border.
Title 42 allowed the US to expel migrants without considering them for asylum. More than 2 million people have been expelled since the rule was enacted.
The end of Title 42 is likely to cause processes at the border to bog down, and complicate the ongoing surge of illegal border crossings.
Adams has pleaded for help from the federal government in Washington, asking for $ 1billion from FEMA to reimburse the city for sheltering the migrants, but he claims their pleas have been ‘mostly ignored.’
Migrants line up outside a shelter in El Paso on December 17
Migrants set up beds at a shelter in El Paso, Texas
Migrants cross the Rio Bravo river near El Paso on the way to turn themselves into US border control and seek asylum
The Democrat, about to finish out his first year in office, blamed members of both parties in Congress for refusing ‘to lift a finger’ to ease the city’s burden.
Migrants have been bussed into New York City since August, with thousands having been sent to the Big Apple.
The mayor has made multiple attempts on his own to ease the problem, from what became known as ‘Tent City’ to housing the migrants at hotels at the cost of $450 a night.
Adams Tent City’ had opened October 19 to house single men seeking asylum in the US for temporary periods after their initial arrival in New York City. The center helped them determine what resources they needed and whether they wanted to go elsewhere.
In recent months, the number of migrants, mainly from Venezuela, arriving in New York City had sharply increased after officials in states like Texas and Arizona sent them over on buses.
It led to Adams declaring a state of emergency over the increased pressure on the city’s infrastructure, with the homeless shelter system bursting. There are more than 63,300 people in the shelter system.
But the Randall’s Island facility, made up of heated tents that included cots for up to 500 people and could have held double that number, didn’t use anywhere close to that capacity.
The tent city was shut down in early November, with Adams now housing migrants in the glamorous Watson Hotel, a $450-a-night, 3.5 star hotel a block away from Central Park, after Adams’ Tent City was shut down.