September 21, 2023
Phil Mattingly: Brand new this morning, the White House is sending 800 new active duty troops to the southern border as we and they see pictures like this out of Eagle Pass, Texas: crowds of migrants under a bridge. The mayor says 2,500 people crossed the border yesterday alone, and the administration has also just announced humanitarian relief to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans already in the United States.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams joins us now by phone. Mr. Mayor, appreciate your time. I want to start with, this is something you have been calling for, temporary protected status expansion, for a while now. Have you spoken to the White House? Are you happy with how this turned out?
Mayor Eric Adams: Yes, I spoke with the White House last night, and we need to be clear on where we are. We appreciate the TPS for 15,000 people who are eligible that are currently in our [care], but as you indicated, we have 60,000 that’s in our care, we’re getting 10,000 a month, and this surge may continue.
And so this is a good move in a direction. Since April, we’ve been calling for this, and I want to thank the congressional delegation, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and Senator Schumer. But this is really moving in the right direction, but we have a long way to go.
Poppy Harlow: It sounds like you’re saying, mayor, this is a good start, but we need more. Is part of the issue that this ends at people that came in after July 31st, so that means any new Venezuelan migrants coming into the city since then, this will not apply to?
Mayor Adams: Correct. And that’s a good point that you’re asking, because we’re not only getting asylum seekers from Venezuela, we’re getting them from West Africa, we’re getting them from Russian speaking areas, South and Central America. And so this is an important step for the 15,000 people who are in our care, but it’s [inaudible] to the overall crisis that we continue to have and the costs that’s associated with it. We spent two billion, it’s going to cost us five billion during this fiscal year and 12 billion during the next two cycles.
Mattingly: Mr. Mayor, your relationship between the Governor’s Office and the White House has been, I think, something a lot of people have been paying attention to over the last several months because of this issue specifically. How would you characterize your relationship with the White House right now?
I know you spoke to them last night, but the president was up here. You guys didn’t meet, I don’t think, based on my understanding. There have been many conversations between the two of you over the course of the last several months. Where does that stand given this issue, as you noted, is still very much a live issue?
Mayor Adams: And I am extremely clear: my results must be for the City of New York, and if I can get those results by speaking to the Chief of Staff of the White House or any other representative, I’m going to do that. The goal is, I think the President is doing a great job on many issues in this country. My focus is this migrant and asylum issue that is extremely hurtful and harmful to the City of New York.
And I think today’s…last night’s decision is a starting point of what we can do. We can’t spike the ball, but we appreciate that 15,000 migrant and asylum seekers are now something that we can look towards moving out of our care. But we still have, again, 10,000 coming a month and over 60,000 that are in our care.
Harlow: Governor Hochul of New York told our colleague Abby Phillip on her show last night that she would support temporarily rescinding what is known in New York City as this Right to Shelter mandate. A lot of your critics, as you know, have said, well, essentially he said this can be the sanctuary city; and so therefore, this is what has come. What do you say to them; and, would you support removing temporarily that Right to Shelter mandate?
Mayor Adams: Our legal team is looking at every aspect of Right to Shelter and every aspect of what we are responsible to do. And when you remove it, we still have the issues of people coming to this city. We don’t want people sleeping on our streets, I saw what happened in El Paso and other municipalities. We need to resolve the issue, and that includes immigration reforms that many Republicans have been holding up.
But it also includes making sure all of these cities are not carrying the burden of a national issue. It’s wrong for New York City as well as other municipalities in this country to be carrying a national issue.
Mattingly: Mr. Mayor, I want to play for people, because this got a strenuous pushback from some but also helped highlight, I think, the scale and the urgency of the issue in your eyes, at least, something you said a couple weeks ago. Take a listen.
Mayor Eric Adams: Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City— destroy New York City.
Mattingly: Mr. Mayor, subsequently there was an interview that I listened to and watched where you provided some clarity and I think context to those statements which pushed back on some of the criticism you got. But that position right now, does that stand, your view on this, and what it could mean?
Mayor Adams: Yes, it does stand. And I think you see the surge at the border, 2,501 in one day to one city. And you know, people wanted to distort my words to say that migrants and asylum seekers would destroy the city, that is not true. They should not be going through this. They should not be living in these conditions.
When I take $12 billion out of my budget, that is going to impact how I deal with low income New Yorkers, the services that are provided for them, the long term impact to my seniors, to my housing. This is a severe issue that we don’t want to get out of control. And when you see the continuous flow that you reported at the beginning of this conversation, you realize that, where is the end in sight?
This is a national problem, and New York City taxpayers should not be picking up the costs of a national problem, and asylum seekers and migrants should not be living in this condition.
Harlow: Mayor Eric Adams, thank you very much for calling in on a critical issue. We appreciate your time this morning.
Mayor Adams: Thank you. Take care.
Harlow: And thanks to all of you for joining us. Have a great day.
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