Watch CBS News

With asylum seekers arriving in record numbers, Mayor Adams sends emergency aid request to Gov. Hochul

Mayor Adams traveling to El Paso amid NYC's migrant crisis
Mayor Adams traveling to El Paso amid NYC's migrant crisis 02:29

NEW YORK -- The stream of asylum seekers arriving in New York City has reached a record pace. Mayor Eric Adams says the city has run out of room and is asking the state for a lifeline. 

Adams said there's no more room at the inn. The 74 emergency shelters and four humanitarian relief centers opened to cope with the influx of asylum seekers are packed to the gills.

"What is happening in El Paso, Houston, Washington, Chicago, New York, it is unfair. It's unfair to all of our cities," the mayor said.

Adams is petitioning Gov. Kathy Hochul for immediate emergency assistance. 

"We are at our breaking point," the mayor said in a statement. "Based off our projections, we anticipate being unable to continue sheltering arriving asylum seekers on our own and have submitted an emergency mutual aid request to the State of New York beginning this weekend." 

Adams said the city has received more than 40,000 asylum seekers, including more than 3,100 this past week. The largest single-day total was 835 last Thursday. 

"It's a moving target that continues to move," said Adams. 

At a budget news conference on Thursday, the mayor lamented the fact that no other public officials - council members, the city and state comptrollers, for example - have joined him in asking the state and the federal government to help. 

"Can you believe it? We're the only ones that are saying federal government, do your job. But everyone is telling us to do our job, which we're doing every day ... So I need help, and that was one of the number one things I said to all my colleagues. I need you to join me in telling the federal government, New York taxpayers don't deserve this," said Adams.

Watch Marcia Kramer's report

Mayor Adams asks state for help as asylum seekers continue to arrive 02:27

Meanwhile, the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless insisted the city has a legal obligation to find space for anyone who needs a bed. 

"Regardless of the circumstances, these are obligations that no mayor can shirk," the advocates said in a statement. 

Oddly, Hochul did not mention the migrant crisis or state aid for the city in her State of the State speech, in which she laid out her priorities for the year.

In a statement to CBS2, a spokesperson for the governor said, "Governor Hochul will continue working collaboratively with Mayor Adams to assist the City with asylum seekers, and we are reviewing the city's recent requests. But it is not sustainable for local or state governments to shoulder this burden; the federal government must do more to both fund localities and to deal with the crisis nationally."

"Even with Governor Hochul, she just had her State of the State. She said one sentence about the migrant and refugee asylum crisis. We need our state partners to step up and give us more funding," New York City Council member Julie Won said.

Won has 28 shelters in her western Queens district, holding about 3,000 migrants. She says they are just not getting the proper care.

"We are seeing people crying out for mental health services, health care. Six families had chickenpox, yet they did not receive the care that they need, so yes, we need to accept people, but we need to make sure that we're giving them the services they need," she said.

Won will hold a hearing in February on the food that migrants are being served, saying it's poor quality and making some children sick.

Meanwhile, the mayor will travel to El Paso this weekend, making multiple stops in the area, hoping to provoke a national dialogue.

"We should have a real decompression strategy so that those are seeking asylum will have the opportunity to spread throughout the state and throughout the country so that the entire country will deal with this national issue," Adams said.

The mayor says with the number of arriving migrants, the price tag for the city has gone way up to between $1.5-2 billion.

"That money comes from our schools, it comes from our public safety, our hospitals, our infrastructures ... Those are our tax dollars that it's coming from, and we're going to see an impact on every service we have in this city," Adams said.

Adams said his initial request was for shelters to accommodate 500 asylum seekers. He said the ask could increase as more buses arrive from the border. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.