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Mayor Eric Adams' proposed budget cuts under fire, as he considers limiting asylum seeker shelter stays

Mayor Adams' proposed budget cuts under fire, as he considers limiting asylum seeker shelter stays
Mayor Adams' proposed budget cuts under fire, as he considers limiting asylum seeker shelter stays 03:18

NEW YORK -- Tensions are running high over the city's asylum seeker problem.

On Tuesday, hecklers interrupted a speech by Gov. Kathy Hochul and irate elected officials denounced Mayor Eric Adams' proposed budget cuts to pay for the surging costs.

But there could be even more hard choices ahead.

READ MOREAsylum seeker services provider DocGo under audit as Comptroller Brad Lander reevaluates Mayor Eric Adams' emergency powers  

The burden of coping with tens of thousands of asylum seekers has the Adams administration thinking about limiting the amount of time migrants can stay in a city shelter -- a move that to some is simply unthinkable for a city with a right-to-shelter law.

Also unthinkable to many elected officials are the budget cuts the mayor now says he needs to pay the bills.

READ MORENew York City's right-to-shelter policy for asylum seekers back in court    

Passions ran high on Tuesday as community activists and elected officials stood in the shadow of City Hall to demand the mayor rethink budget cuts of up to 15% to pay for asylum seekers. Councilwoman Carmen De La Rosa is from the Dominican Republic.

"We know what it's like to live in the shadows and what this crisis will create is a shadow city for those that are most vulnerable," De La Rosa said.

Speakers said budget cuts will devastate city services, including:

  • A $2.1 billion cut to education
  • A $1.4 billion cut to the Department of Social Services
  • An $800 million cut from homeless services
  • A $300 million cut from the Fire Department
  • A $200 million cut from city hospitals

"If we have to do this 5% across the board, three times in a year is not the way to do it," Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said.

Many of the officials say tax the rich and hire auditors to go after tax cheats. Another solution under consideration by the mayor is to limit the amount of time migrants can stay in shelters. The 60-day shelter limit imposed on single men expires Saturday. Sources told CBS New York the mayor may decide to limit any new extensions to 30 days.

Also under consideration if more help doesn't arrive from the state or federal governments is the possibility of a 30-day shelter limit for new arrivals and a 60-day limit for families with children.

READ MORENew York considering issuing its own work permits to asylum seekers

While stressing that no final decisions have been made, a city hall spokesperson said that without more help, "We will have to make more difficult decisions and it is possible we will see more heartbreaking realities, like the one we saw outside The Roosevelt Hotel this summer."

Meanwhile, hecklers who apparently don't want the state to do more for migrants interrupted a speech on antisemitism by Gov. Hochul.

"Stand up and do the right thing. Close the freaking border," one person yelled.

READ MORE31 migrants, including children, found living under dangerous conditions inside small house in New City, New York

And although it is only 3.8 miles from the United Nations -- where President Joe Biden was speaking -- to City Hall, neither man made the trip to iron out their differences about the need for more federal assistance.

"I am hoping that he understands that this beautiful city that's the economic engine of the entire country is going to spend in this fiscal crisis $12 billion," Adams said.

The governor made a point of saying she would see President Biden on Tuesday night at a reception he is hosting here. Will the topic of migrants come up? "We'll see what the topic comes around to that," Hochul said.

There is no indication the mayor will be there. He said earlier in the day the last time he spoke to the president was "earlier this year."

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