NYC unveils plans for 24/7 arrival center and other steps to address migrant influx
By Sydney Kashiwagi, CNN
(CNN) -- New York City will open a 24/7 arrival center for asylum seekers, create a specialized office dedicated to the issue and work to resettle people in other cities, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday.
It's an effort that City Hall described in a statement as transitioning from "an emergency response-approach to a steady state-approach," particularly ahead of a potential increase in migrant arrivals following the lifting of the Title 42 border policy this spring. The city says more than 50,000 people have arrived in the city since last April, with 30,000 currently receiving care.
"I am concerned about what's going to happen when the borders reopen. New York City's still a destination," Adams told reporters during a news conference. "There's still Facebook pages in countries that are stating 'come to New York,' so I'm concerned, and we need to be prepared for whatever's in the future."
Adams did not disclose where the arrival center will be located or identify a person who will coordinate the city's response.
In its blueprint, City Hall said the number of asylum seekers coming to the city could rise once Title 42, a Trump-era policy enacted at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic that allows border officials to turn away migrants at the US-Mexico border, is allowed to expire in May.
The Office of Asylum Seeker Operations will work with cities at the southern border to dispel misinformation about what New York City is offering asylum seekers. It will also help new asylum seekers get jobs, connect them with legal representation and help them access short and long-term housing.
Adams said the city also will "move toward long-term housing and resettlement, including resettlement to pre-vetted cities and municipalities that welcome asylum seekers."
"There are many cities within the state and across the country that are saying they want to help," Adams said. "We want to create the pathway to do that."
He continued to call on federal and state entities to provide funding assistance, saying, "We cannot do this alone. And we've been doing it alone thus far."
Over the last year, the city has opened 92 emergency shelter sites and seven humanitarian emergency response and relief centers to shelter incoming asylum seekers and has spent more than $650 million to address the crisis, according to the blueprint.
The city said it anticipates it will spend $1.4 billion this fiscal year and as much as $4.2 billion in the next fiscal year to address the issue.
Adams has frequently criticized President Joe Biden, a fellow Democrat, over what he says is insufficient federal funding and support to New York to deal with the influx of migrants, though he remains a politically ally of the president. Recently, Adams joined a Biden "advisory board" of surrogates that plans to campaign on Biden's behalf during his expected reelection campaign, The Washington Post reported last week.
Asked on Tuesday if being a part of Biden's advisory board would compromise his ability to advocate for resources for the city and be critical of president's immigration policies, Adams said it would not.
"I'm going to speak on behalf of the people of this city no matter what panel I am on," Adams said. "The president is just a blue-collar president. I'm a blue-collar mayor. I like his policies, I think he's good for the country, and it doesn't mean I'm going to agree with him 100% on everything."
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