Mayor wants sanctuary city after warning migrant crisis will “destroy” NYC

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has defended the Big Apple as a sanctuary for migrants, months after he said a border surge would “destroy” his city.

In light of a record number of migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border, in addition to further inaction in terms of border security following the failure of a $100-billion U.S. Senate bill, Adams continues to be vocal about the need for federal aid in dealing with what has become a long-term situation.

“Let me tell you something, New Yorkers. Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to,” the Democrat said in September. “I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City.”

But he also embraces being a city welcoming of migrants, of which some 175,000 have sought refuge in New York City since spring 2022. Most migrants who come to the city are not violent offenders, he added, as part of a new interview on Sunday with local news affiliate WPIX.

Mayor Eric Adams on February 8, 2024, in New York City. Adams defended the city as a migrant sanctuary and said recent violent incidents are not indicative of the city or migrants as a whole.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Earlier this month, video footage spread of several migrants attacking two New York City police officers. The incident gained further attention when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg allowed five of the individuals to be released without bail, eventually boarding buses to reportedly leave the city altogether.

“I don’t have a goal of repealing sanctuary city, and I want to be clear on that,” Adams told Pix on Politics host Dan Mannarino on Sunday. “I have a goal of repealing any aspect where people are participating in criminal behavior, violent criminal acts.

“They should not stay in our city. They should not be here when you’re living off the benevolence of New Yorkers and tax dollars and you are committing crimes like what we saw in New York, in Times Square.”

Newsweek has reached out to the mayor’s office via email for comment.

When asked by Mannarino to clarify his comments, Adams reiterated that he has no intention to repeal sanctuary status overall and has no legal authority to do so anyway if he tried.

Congress must come together,” Adams said. “I think the Republicans have really gotten in [the] way of real true immigration reform for a long time. But both sides of the aisle must contribute.

“I think my Democratic colleagues in the White House, we need to look at the impact this is having on cities, and we need to make sure that we manage the border correctly so that we don’t in any way endanger the safety and also impact these cities that are being impacted.”

Adams has long been one of the more outspoken critics of the state and federal government for not providing additional financial aid, in addition to expedited work requirements and better systemic measures to manage the flows of asylum seekers.

The city’s migrant influx could also play a vital role in Tuesday’s special election, which will determine whether Democrat Tom Suozzi, who held the seat in New York’s 3rd Congressional District before George Santos, and Republican Mazi Pilip, an Ethiopian-born former Israeli Defense Forces soldier, will take Santos’ place.

Six-figure political ads by Republicans have painted Suozzi as someone “rolling out the red carpet for illegal immigrants,” even as he has agreed that tougher stances on the border need to occur. He has been dubbed “Sanctuary Suozzi” by his opponents.