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‘What are you doing to help?’: Mayor Adams urges New Yorkers to ask themselves — not him — how to fix NYC migrant crisis

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a press conference at Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx on Tuesday Aug. 8, 2023. (Darren McGee/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul/TNS)

Mayor Eric Adams suggested Tuesday that the city’s migrant crisis is getting so out of hand that New Yorkers should stop asking him to solely address it — and instead consider what they can do to help.

“This is a moment where people need to stop asking, ‘Eric, what are you doing?’ This is a moment we need to ask, ‘What are we doing?’” the mayor said during an unrelated press conference in the Bronx.

The mayor issued the sweeping call for everyday New Yorkers to get more involved after being asked if he plans to hire more Spanish-speaking teachers to help educate newly-arrived Latin American migrant children.

After saying the city may be too cash-strapped to make such hires, Adams added: “This is not Mayor Adams’ job. This is the job of the people of the City of New York, and everyone should participate in that … I’m not going to allow anyone to allow this moment to go past without asking: ‘What are you doing to help people who are in need right now?’”

Adams’ latest comments come as the city continues to shelter, feed and provide services for more than 57,000 migrants to the tune of millions of dollars every week.

The Adams administration estimates the city is on track to spend more than $4 billion on the crisis by next summer, blowing a hole in the municipal budget that the mayor said justifies his call for more volunteerism.

“We’re dealing with a real economic challenge here,” he said before commending NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Community Affairs Mark Stewart for recently launching an educational program to help Spanish speakers improve their English.

Some of Adams’ left-wing critics ridiculed him on social media for imploring constituents to pick up the slack.

“Ask not what Mayor Adams can do for you, ask what you can do for Mayor Adams,” Tony Melone, a spokesman for New Kings Democrats, a grassroots progressive group in Brooklyn, wrote on Twitter in reference to Adams’ comments.

In addition to calling on New Yorkers to do more to help, Adams has for months pleaded with President Joe Biden to allocate more migrant crisis-related federal monetary aid and resources for the city.

Adams found some support on that front Tuesday from New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a progressive Democrat who is ideologically opposed to the mayor.

Bowman, who attended the same press conference as the mayor in the Bronx, told reporters afterward that Adams is right in calling on Biden to do more.

“This is an administrative response. It doesn’t have to go through Congress. We don’t need legislation,” Bowman said. “We need executive action from the president.”

The congressman added that recent conversations with officials in the Biden administration have been “fruitful,” adding that the president’s team is planning to send a liaison to the Adams administration asylum seeker intake center at Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel in coming days.

“But we need action,” Bowman added. “We need the president to take a leadership role because here’s the thing: Democrats are looking bad right now in New York State, and that’s unacceptable when we have to win at least four congressional seats to take back the House. So hopefully the president is listening.”

The city’s migrant crisis reached a turning point last weekend when dozens of migrants resorted to sleeping on the sidewalk outside the Roosevelt after being informed there was no more room in the city shelter system, whose population is at an all-time high.

Amid the unprecedented overcrowding, Adams’ administration plans to open a mega tent-style shelter on Randalls Island in the coming weeks with capacity for 2,000 migrants. On Tuesday afternoon, city workers could be seen making preparations to set up the shelter spanning four soccer fields on the island’s southern tip.


© 2023 New York Daily News

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