The political pleasantries didn’t last long.
Immediately after appearing together in public for the first time Friday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took aim at Mayor Adams’ plan to erect a migrant tent camp in her district, charging that there’s a “better solution” to be had.
The progressive congresswoman, who’s had a simmering beef with the more moderate-minded mayor for months, offered the rebuke in a brief interview with the Daily News on the steps of City Hall following a press conference with Adams on an unrelated topic.
“I think we can get to a place with a better solution here,” Ocasio-Cortez said when asked about the tent facilities being built in the Bronx’s Orchard Beach parking lot to house upward of 1,000 Latin American migrants.
Ocasio-Cortez, who hasn’t previously commented on the tent facility in her 14th Congressional District, said she’s in talks with other lawmakers about “figuring out if there are additional federal resources” that could be allocated to help the city house migrants.
“So that people can get into a better situation,” she said.
Adams spokesman Fabien Levy defended the tent plans when asked for a response to Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks.
“No location is perfect, but we are confident in this decision,” he said. “And we’re glad that so many local elected officials recognize we’re in an emergency and are willing to work with us towards a successful rollout.”
The Adams administration is using the tent camp to alleviate pressure on the city’s shelter system, which has become overburdened by an influx of more than 10,000 migrants, who ended up in New York after crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in hopes of seeking asylum.
A concern raised by homeless advocates is whether the tents will comply with the local right-to-shelter law, which requires the city to provide a place to stay for anyone who needs it as well as certain basic amenities, like lockers, mail and laundry access.
But testifying before the Council earlier Friday, Zach Iscol, Adams’ emergency management commissioner, said the Orchard Beach camp does not need to comply with right-to-shelter rules because the migrant wave is a “humanitarian crisis” outside the scope of the decades-old law.
In her interview with The News, Ocasio-Cortez took issue with Iscol’s argument.
“It’s important that we adhere to the spirit, and not just the letter of the law,” she said. “All people, regardless of who they are, deserve dignified, humane shelter, and this is a situation that we are going to be of course, along with so many others, paying very close attention to.”
During their earlier press conference — which focused on financial relief for cab drivers — Adams and Ocasio-Cortez were polite and offered praise for each other’s work on the issue.
But asked by The News if she thinks Adams is handling the migrant crisis appropriately, Ocasio-Cortez demurred. “I think we’ll find out,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez — who has engaged in an electoral endorsement proxy war with Adams in recent months and vocally opposes his public safety policies — also skipped a private meet-and-greet with Adams inside City Hall before the press conference, a source familiar with the matter said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), on the other hand, joined Adams for the closed-door sit-down before the news conference, the source said.
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