Mayor Adams of New York continues to try to walk a fine line between putting an end to the migration that is doing real financial damage to his city while also not running afoul of the White House which is completely in charge of immigration policy at this point. In the past, Mayor Adams has pretty bluntly criticized the White House and it has cost him. In May he was dropped as a surrogate for the Biden campaign after making a comment about the “irresponsibility” of the White House border policy.
Recently, the White House finally gave Adams part of what he was asking for, by allowing Venezuelan migrants to get work permits much more quickly. But Adams is still walking a fine line. His top aide recently called on the president to close the border. Adams distanced himself from that, saying he didn’t want the border closed though he is still trying to make changes to the city’s right-to-shelter law.
“We believe the borders should remain open,” the mayor said at a news conference. “That’s the official position of this city, but we have made it clear there should be a decompression strategy so that we could properly deal with the volume that’s coming into our city.”
Mr. Adams said that the city’s landmark right-to-shelter protections were “never intended to apply to the extraordinary circumstances our city faces today.” He said that the city was not seeking to end the 1981 consent decree, which was issued in the Callahan v. Carey case. But he argued that New York City should face the same rules as other cities in the state.
And last night, Adams was once again trying to remain on President Biden’s good side while continuing to say the White House is wrong in how it is handling the migrant crisis.
"I think the president has done a great job … but on this issue, I believe the White House is wrong," Adams says. pic.twitter.com/tTd00BpinM
— Semafor (@semafor) October 3, 2023
So with Mayor Adams stuck between having to praise the party’s leader while also having to deal with a major crisis that leader helped create, what is left for him to do? The answer it seems is to go to South America where he can see the problem for himself and also try to convince some of those migrants to stop leaving home for his city.
On Wednesday, he will start a four-day trip and public relations blitz that includes stops in Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador. Adams, a Democrat, said he plans to personally deliver a stern message to would-be migrants thinking of applying for asylum in the United States and heading for New York City.
“We want to give people a true picture of what is here,” Adams said at press briefing Tuesday. “We are at capacity.”…
The mayor said he will be appearing on radio stations, television channels and newspaper pages to deter potential migrants from coming to New York, which is part of a broader campaign of trying to discourage asylum-seekers that has also included fliers handed out at the border and trying to limit stays at shelters.
“We need to counteract those forms of communications that are basically saying ‘You come to the City of New York, you’re going to automatically have a job, you’re going to be in a five star hotel,’” Adams said.
Adams doesn’t speak Spanish so it’s not clear how he’s going to deliver that message on TV and radio. As for him putting a dent in the flow of migrants, I really doubt that’s going to happen no matter what he says.
While in South America he’s also planning to visit the Darién gap, which is where tens of thousands of migrants line up to cross through a jungle leading them into Central America and onward to America. It will be very interesting to see what Adams has to say during his trip and when he returns. I suspect most Democrats would coordinate their talking points with the White House and only say what is good for Joe Biden. Maybe Adams will do that or maybe he’ll continue to do what he has been, i.e. be a bit more honest about the whole thing than is really comfortable for the White House. I’m really hoping he chooses the latter path. If anything, what’s he’s likely to learn in Colombia is that this problem is far bigger than the relatively small part of it he’s been dealing with. But give the guy some credit, at least he’s willing to go look for himself which is more than most Democrats have done.