Democrats in Washington are pushing back on the blunt warning by Mayor Eric Adams that a surge of immigrants threatens to “destroy” New York City.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, called the comment “disgusting and deplorable.”
“This public finger-pointing, whining, and complaining, it’s not leadership. It’s not care. It’s not compassion,” he said.
What You Need To Know
- Last week, Mayor Eric Adams warned that the influx of tens of thousands of migrants threaten to "destroy" New York City
- Rep. Jamaal Bowman called the comments "disgusting and deplorable" and said the "public finger-pointing ... it's not leadership”
- The mayor’s comment comes as Democrats ramp up for a critical election year, where Republicans, especially in New York’s battleground districts, are already making migrants a campaign issue
Rep. Pat Ryan, who has also been leaning on the White House to do more, including declaring a state of emergency, said, “Over-hyping the situation doesn’t help. Under-hyping the situation doesn’t help.”
“Let’s actually work together, recognize it is a crisis,” Ryan, who represents Orange County and parts of Dutchess and Ulster Counties in the Hudson Valley, continued.
Asked about Adams’ assessment Thursday, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries struck a starkly different, more upbeat tone, saying, “Never count out New York City.”
“New York City is always able to manage whatever moment, whatever disturbance, whatever crisis impacts us,” the Brooklyn congressman said.
"NYC is always able to manage whatever moment, whatever disturbance, whatever crisis impacts us. Never count out NYC."— Kevin Frey (@KevinFreyTV) September 14, 2023
👇 @RepJeffries asserts that NYC has "overcome" adversity before, when I asked about Mayor Adams' warning that the migrant surge could "destroy" NYC pic.twitter.com/2xbCwP1Hkr
The mayor’s comment comes as Democrats ramp up for a critical election year, where Republicans, especially in New York’s battleground districts, are already making migrants a campaign issue, even invoking Adams’ remarks.
“This cannot continue. And you’re hearing the frustrations from the mayor, justifiably,” Rep. Mike Lawler, a Hudson Valley Republican, recently said of the migrant situation in New York.
Democrats on Capitol Hill and in City Hall are singing from the same hymnal on another front: urging the White House to do more. That includes finding a way to expedite work authorization for migrants.
“It’s logical. It makes sense. The American people support the fact that while people are going through the immigration process waiting for a final determination on asylum, they should be able to work,” Jeffries said.
The White House says shortening the months-long wait period for work authorization requires an act of Congress. But with a divided Capitol Hill, such immigration reforms are extremely unlikely.
For example, Congressman Nick LaLota, a Republican who represents one of New York’s battleground districts on Long Island, told Spectrum News NY1 he would not back modifying work permits without first taking steps to enhance border security.
Spectrum News NY1 reached out to the mayor's office for a response to the comments from lawmakers.