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NYC Mayor Eric Adams Appears Live on “CBS Mornings” – “We have to ensure that we have real immigration reform because it’s going to go into continue” – Video and Transcript

Tony Dokoupil: Big Apple, welcome back to CBS Mornings and welcome to New York City where a humanitarian crisis all tied to immigration, and migrants coming here to the city. It’s unfolding on city streets, and we are more than 2,000 miles, of course, from the southern border. New York’s leaders say they are struggling to house more than 57,000 asylum seekers currently in the city’s care, more arriving every week. Some of those migrants without beds indoors have been sleeping on the streets. Mayor Eric Adams is now sounding the alarm and says he wants the federal government to take action. And Mayor Adams joins us right now. Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for being here.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Good to be here.

Dokoupil: Yesterday you said you’re on pace to spend five billion on migrant care in this fiscal year. To give people some perspective, that is more than the city spends on sanitation, parks and the Fire Department combined. So you’re asking for money here. Do I have that right?

Mayor Adams: A combination. More than money because the faucet is flowing. We have to stop the faucet. We have to make sure we have a real decompression strategy at the border. And we have to ensure that we have real immigration reform because it’s going to go into continue. It’s not sustainable. When you look at 10,000 a month, the math just does not add up.

Dokoupil: Reform to the system is a long-term fix that’s going to have to go through Congress. Short-term, are you frustrated with the Biden administration? Do you place blame on them for a more welcoming stance that has led to this record surge?

Mayor Adams: There’s a lot of blame to go around. Again, the Republicans have been blocking real immigration reform. We are seeing that FEMA is using dollars on the southern border to allow people to bus people to New York City. And what’s at the heart of all of this for me is, what is more American than the right to work? Why are we having thousands of people here that are not given the basic premise. The precursor to sleep to American Dream is the ability to work.

Dokoupil: It’s a 1996 law. It says you got to sit out for five months, right? You need that work.

Mayor Adams: And that’s even with an asterisk because even when you sit out for those five months, the backlog is so much some people could wait anywhere from a year and a half to two years. And so we’re saying in essence that we have to take care of 97,000 people, food, shelter, clothing, educate the children, the entire combination, and it just continues to flow.

Gayle King: So how much are you asking for? What are you asking the government for? In terms of dollars, how much are you asking?

Mayor Adams: Well, in three years, this is a $12 billion price tag. So far we have $100 million dollars, a little over $100 million dollars that we received. This is their issue. This is a national issue and it should be treated as such. And that’s why the governor of Massachusetts stated this should not be pushed on the cities.

King: But I hear them say, Mr. Mayor, that, let’s see, New York I think has gotten about $140 million more they say than any other city that’s not a border city in this country, that there’s only so much that they can do. What do you say to that?

Mayor Adams: Well, think about what happened in the last few months. We have created a funnel. All the bordering states have now took the funnel right to New York City. New York City is the economic engine of this entire state and country. If you decimate this city, you’re going to decimate the foundation of what’s happening. Look at Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, and now you’re here in the governor of Massachusetts. And so when people say, well, we gave them $100 million dollars to a billion-dollar bill, what table are we dining in?

King: So what are you saying, Mr. Mayor, when you see all the people that are just laying in the streets, you walk by? It is jaw dropping and the numbers keep coming and coming when you think, I don’t have any more room at the end, so to speak.

Nate Burleson: Along with the unhoused people we already have here.

King: That’s a very good point.

Mayor Adams: Exactly. Exactly. And think about the miracle that took place over the last year in April when this really started coming from the governor who wanted to use people as pawns. When you do an analysis of other cities, you did not see our migrant asylum seekers sleeping on the streets. You don’t see tent cities here. You don’t see the cardboard boxes here. We made a major inroad on street homelessness. 

So what you saw at the Roosevelt a few days ago is because the violently burst. The incoming, it was so much, and then there was a different population. We were dealing with South and Central American, Venezuelans. Now you’re seeing people come from all over the globe to New York City.

Burleson: Mayor, in response to Tony’s question, you said there’s a lot of blame to go around and there are some people that are placing the blame in your direction than leaders of New York City. As more asylum seekers come, the more money is dedicated. And taxpayers are saying there’s a better way to spend that money. What is your response to that?

Mayor Adams: Well, I think to the contrary. When I’m in the streets, people are saying, “Hey brother, you’re doing your thing.” Not one child or family slept on the streets of the City of New York. That was our number one mission. We can’t have children out on the street. Now you have many, no matter what you do in life. I mean, this is New York, 8.8 million people, 35 million opinions. Everyone can sit in the bleachers and say, “I should’ve thrown a better fastball,” but come on this field.

Burleson: Yes, to step on the mound.

Mayor Adams: Every day, we are juggling where are we going to find another place so that human beings don’t sleep on the street. That’s real.

Dokoupil: A lot of empty office buildings. People say that’s an obvious solution. What do you say?

Mayor Adams: If we can. We’re still dealing with many different rules and laws. We’re trying to get a conversion to housing. And we have been using some… We converted some office buildings. But here’s the big thing that many people are not understanding. It costs money.

Burleson: It costs money.

Dokoupil: Okay. So hearing you talk, hearing your press conference yesterday, I think there are governors of let’s say Florida and Texas who were saying, “Thank you, Mayor Adams. We’ve been saying this is a problem for a long time.” All these border towns have been transformed by immigration, by an influx of people. Have you talked to those political leaders across the aisle about what a solution is? I mean, is there a joint press conference, joint pressure on the Biden administration?

Mayor Adams: Listen, did more than that, and the pressure should be on our national government. And if we look at one side of the aisle and not the other side of the aisle, the national government must deal with real true immigration reform and then deal with the crisis we’re facing right now. I didn’t only talk to my colleagues.

Burleson: You’ve been to the border.

Mayor Adams: Exactly. I visited the border.

Burleson: Did that change your perspective at all?

Mayor Adams: Without a doubt. I saw what was happening, and I’m glad I visited midway through this because I knew my mission. When I saw children and families sleeping on the streets around churches, in airports, I saw the tents, I said, “I can’t allow that to happen in New York.” Now, we were fortunate up until the other day. For the first time, we saw the spillover, but I cannot commit that’s not going to happen again.

Dokoupil: Have you talked to the president directly?

King: I was going to ask that, yeah.

Mayor Adams: We had a conversation last year. We communicated with the White House several times. We have a body of a contingent from Homeland Security that’s here now. Our congressional delegation has been amazing in how they have pushed us through, and there’s a uniform belief. One, we should allow people to work. That would be a major system. We have thousands of jobs, and I want to say to New Yorkers and Americans, these migrants and asylum seekers that I spent the night in the migrant hurt with, they don’t want anything free from us. They want to work.

King: What about the criticism of you, Mr. Mayor, that you spent a lot of time, you’re the party mayor? You spent a lot of time at Zero Bond. You spent a lot of time working out that, yeah, you’re doing a job, but you’re also… The headline in The New Yorker the other day was “Mayor Adams, Administration of Bluster.” How do you respond to those criticisms?

Mayor Adams: Come on. This is New York. I’m the mayor of the most important city on the globe, and I got to boost a multi-million, billion dollar nightlife industry that was dying through Covid. Every time I walk inside a restaurant, those cooks, those chefs, those waiters, those busboys and girls, that boosts the economy. My nightlife establishment is huge. But then look at our successes. I ran on bringing down crime, dropped homicides, gun shootings. It’s my major category. We got a AA bond rating from Fitch. You’ll see it, 99 percent of our jobs recovered.

King: I see you’re bothered by it. [Laughter.]

Dokoupil: Nate, you want to boost the nightlife industry with me a second?

Burleson: We can do that.

Dokoupil: The mayor needs the help!

Burleson: Mayor, thank you for coming by. You’re invited as always. And to keep your analogy of baseball going, we’ve seen the fastball. Maybe it’s time for the changeup.

August 10, 2023 New York, NY

Source: NYC City Hall Mayor Eric Adams office New York news  –  Big New York news BigNY.com

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