“Our shelter system is full, and we are nearly out of money, staff, and space. Truth be told, if corrective measures are not taken soon, we may very well be forced to cut or curtail programs New Yorkers rely on, and the pathway to house thousands more is uncertain,” Adams, a Democrat, said in a statement Sunday. “These are not choices we want to make, but they may become necessary, and I refuse to be forced to choose new arrivals over current New Yorkers. I’ll say it again—we need a plan, we need assistance, and we need it now.”
Officials say that in the past several months, New York City has received tens of thousands of individuals who illegally crossed the U.S.–Mexico border. The governors of Arizona and Texas have repeatedly sent bus-loads of people to New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., while the Democrat mayor of El Paso, Texas, has done the same.
Following a lengthy court battle, a court ruled last week that Title 42—a COVID-19 rule invoked under the Trump administration in early 2020—could expire on Wednesday, Dec. 21, unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes. The rule’s pending expiration has triggered warnings from Republican officials, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who on Sunday called on the court system to reinstate it.
“The flow of asylum seekers to New York City has slowed in recent months but the tool that the federal government has used to manage those coming over the border is set to expire this week, and we have been told in no uncertain terms that, beginning today, we should expect an influx of buses coming from the border and that more than 1,000 additional asylum seekers will arrive in New York City every week,” Adams also said Sunday. “We are in urgent need for help, and it’s time for our state and federal partners to act—especially those in Congress who refuse to provide the financial resources or issue temporary work authorizations necessary for these individuals to live properly.”
Adams then called on both Congress and the White House “to share their plans to move asylum seekers to other cities, to allow asylum seekers to work, and to send aid to the cities that have borne the brunt of this crisis.”
Earlier this year, Adams’s administration declared a state of emergency after several buses filled with illegal immigrants were sent from Texas to New York City. At the time, the city had more than 61,000 people, including 20,000 children, in its shelter system.
Earlier in the weekend, the mayor of El Paso declared a state of emergency following an influx of illegal immigrants who recently arrived in the city and are reportedly living in unsanitary and unsafe conditions. Echoing Adams and others, Mayor Oscar Leeser declared that the expiration of Title 42 this week will create chaos.
“I said from the beginning, that I would call it when I felt that either our asylum-seekers, or our community, was not safe,” Leeser said Saturday. “I really believe that today our asylum-seekers are not safe as we have hundreds and hundreds on the streets and that’s not the way we want to treat people.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) called on the Biden administration to “use every bit of power” to extend the rule. But in response to the calls to extend Title 42, White House officials said their hands are tied because of last week’s court order.
“We have to follow the court order,” an unnamed White House official told CNN. “A court is requiring us to lift it on December 21. We are required to do it.”
Others, including Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), have said that Title 42 should be ended because it’s not technically an immigration policy.
“Title 42 was put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as health policy,” Padilla told ABC News on Sunday. “Even then I disagreed, but that’s what brought Title 42 to bear. We’re in a much different place when it comes to COVID today.”
There is still a possibility the U.S. Supreme Court will intervene before Title 42 expires. Several GOP-led states have indicated that they will appeal their case.