New York Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday said Gov. Kathy Hochul was “wrong” not to force counties outside the city to accept migrants.
“I think the governor’s wrong. … Every county in this state should be part of this,” Adams said at an event hosted by New York Law School and the Center for New York City Law, according to a transcript provided by his office.
The mayor’s criticism was the latest in a back-and-forth between Democratic allies now bickering about how to handle the influx of more than 100,000 migrants to New York over the past 18 months.
The city has sheltered more than half of the migrants, but also has sought to fan them out among other communities. While some areas have been receptive, others have sought to block them.
The Adams administration, in a recent court filing, said Hochul should issue an executive order to “preempt attempts by certain localities to stymie the city’s efforts to place new arrivals in accommodations outside the city.”
The governor said she wouldn’t — and couldn’t — do so.
In a speech last week, Hochul didn’t directly address Adams’ request but said a 1981 consent decree that established a right-to-shelter mandate in New York City cannot be imposed on New York’s 57 other counties.
“Which is one of the reasons we cannot, and will not, force other parts of our state to shelter migrants. Nor are we going to be asking these migrants to move to other parts of the state against their will,” the governor said.
Instead, the state will seek, as it has done previously, to work with communities outside the city that are open to receiving migrants.
On Tuesday, Hochul aide Avi Small added: “It’s unfortunate that the mayor is choosing to point fingers at the state – which continues to provide the city with unprecedented amounts of financial support – rather than working collaboratively to manage this crisis. Gov. Hochul knows that New Yorkers want their leaders to focus on solutions, which is why she is working [to get] more individuals on the path to work authorization so they can move out of shelter and into permanent housing."
Hochul and Adams increasingly have pointed a finger at Republican governors for shipping migrants north from the border and, more recently, at President Joe Biden for not providing more federal help.
In particular, the New York officials have pushed to ease a federal law that makes migrants wait 180 days before being able to receive work authorizations.
“Here we have the White House saying, 'Nope, we’re not going to give you the right to work,' ” Adams said Tuesday. " 'We’re not going to give you any places for people to be able to house.' ”
But the Biden administration has pushed back. It recently sent letters to New York officials noting that it has identified 11 federal sites across the state that could be used to house migrants.
The administration also previously provided the city access to a hangar at Kennedy Airport, where 800 people are being housed. Earlier this summer, it also made about two dozen suggestions for how New York could improve its handling of “structural and operational issues” for dealing with the influx.
The federal Department of Homeland Security also said it is still awaiting city and state officials to finalize a lease agreement to use Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, a federal site, to host some migrants.