Adams pleads with state for more migrant funds

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(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is pleading for more money from the state as the city grapples with the financial costs of an ongoing influx of migrants.

Testifying before a budget hearing on Wednesday — at the Legislature’s annual “Tin Cup Day” when municipal leaders ask for more funding from the budget — Adams said the state needs to ante up more cash to make up for lack of support from the federal government. He asked for another $1.6 billion for migrant costs.

“The state’s commitment to the city is just over $3 billion — or roughly 28 percent — which is $400 million short,” Adams told the panel in remarks. “We are asking the state to increase its commitment and cover at least 50 percent of our costs.”

Adams says the city will need to spend an estimated $10.6 billion through the end of FY 2025 to provide housing, food and other needs for about 65,000 asylum seekers under its care.

New York City has seen more than 170,000 migrants arrive over the past year amid a historic surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I think there’s a realization that New York City and New York state is going to have to address this issue and we’re saying it should not be all on the backs of New York City residents,” Adams told lawmakers.

To be sure, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed $2.4 billion in her executive budget for the 2025 fiscal year, in addition to the $1.9 billion in the 2024 fiscal year. If approved, that would bring the state’s allocations to New York City for asylum seekers to $4.3 billion.

Hochul told reporters on Wednesday that she was surprised by the mayor’s request for the state to cover 50% of the city’s migrant costs.

“We are already making a substantial contribution to deal with the problem,” she said. “He did not put in that request to me. He’s grateful for what he’s getting.”

The Hochul administration said the state has set aside $2.15 billion to reimburse the city for migrant services, about $1 billion to cover the costs of tent cities, $451 million for the National Guard deployments, $326 million for disease prevention, $160 million in safety net assistance and $250 million in resettlement costs.

Despite repeated pleas by Adams and Hochul for more federal funding, the Biden administration has only allocated around $150 million in federal aid for migrant costs.

In Wednesday’s remarks, Adams defended his decision to distribute $53 million in debt cards to hundreds of migrants and shrugged off suggestions from Republican lawmakers that the city’s ‘sanctuary’ policies — which restrict cooperation with federal immigration crackdowns — are drawing asylum seekers to the city.

“No, I don’t think people come here because we’re a sanctuary city,” he said. “I think they come here because we’re the greatest city on the globe.”

Adams said the state has a fiscal responsibility to do more to foot the bill for caring for tens of thousands of migrants.

“We’re the economic engine of the state,” he said. “And we’ve always been here for the state. We need the state now to be here for us in the city.”

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