EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — On the eve of his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York City had asked the state for “immediate help” to shelter hundreds of migrants expected to arrive during the weekend.
The emergency mutual aid request to New York State comes as the city averages 400 daily arrivals, including 875 last Thursday alone.
“We are now seeing more people arrive than we have ever seen,” Adams said in a statement, adding that the shelter system was at record levels and the city was at its “breaking point.”
Many of those migrants got there on a bus from El Paso, where Adams traveled on Saturday. He toured a migrant processing center with El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, visited the border wall with El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and spoke with migrants outside Sacred Heart Church.
The mayor’s office tweeted a video showing him telling dozens of migrants: “We are fighting for you for an opportunity to work and experience the American dream,” which drew loud cheers and applause.
Late last summer, thousands of asylum-seeking migrants — the majority of them from Venezuela — began arriving in El Paso from Juarez, Mexico. At the time, Venezuelan nationals were not amenable to expulsion under Title 42, the public health order meant to stop the cross-border spread of COVID-19.
Local shelters and processing centers quickly filled up, which left the Border Patrol with no choice but to drop them off outside the Greyhound Bus Station in Downtown El Paso.
In August, the El Paso City-County Office of Emergency Management began busing migrants out of town, and most chose to go to New York City. (The State of Texas had already for months been sending busloads of migrants to New York.)
Adams says that since last spring, New York has welcomed 40,000 asylum seekers, providing them with shelter, food, and other resources.
“We are at our breaking point,” Adams said. “Based off our projections, we anticipate being unable to continue sheltering arriving asylum seekers on our own. …”
In El Paso, Adams criticized the federal government’s response to the influx of immigrants into U.S. cities. He said Sunday, “We need clear coordination.”
He explained that cities where immigrants are flowing need help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Adams says, “our cities are being undermined.”
Adam had said that his city opened 74 emergency shelters and four humanitarian relief centers “almost entirely on our own.”
“The absence of sorely needed federal immigration reform should not mean that this humanitarian crisis falls only on the shoulders of cities,” he said.