NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday knocked Gov. Kathy Hochul’s handling of the migrant crisis, offering his sharpest critique of his partner in government.
Adams was, in particular, critical of Hochul’s stance that the city should limit its movement of migrants to other parts of New York, especially without the consent and coordination of local leaders.
“I think the governor’s wrong,” the mayor said. “She’s the governor of the state of New York. New York City is in that state. Every county in this state should be part of this.”
Adams has recently urged Hochul to issue a statewide order that would bar municipalities from trying to block the arrival of migrants through local edicts. Hochul has rejected the concept, saying migrants should not be forced on other counties and, separately, arguing the right to shelter mandate that requires people who are homeless, including migrants, to be provided housing doesn’t apply beyond the five boroughs.
“This is an agreement that does not apply to the state’s other 57 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,” she said in a speech Thursday.
She also said earlier this month that: “Putting someone in a hotel on a dark, lonely road in Upstate New York and telling them they’re supposed to survive is not compassion.”
Hochul has faced pressure from municipal leaders, including in the political battleground in the Hudson Valley, to curb the busing of migrants into their communities.
The governor and mayor’s united front has begun to crumble as the number of migrants arriving to New York City surpasses 100,000. And it has also strained relationship with the Biden administration, which pushed back Monday on state leaders’ urging that it do more to help New York.
They long defined their working relationship as strong, especially compared to their predecessors, but Adams has ramped up his insistence that Hochul take on a greater share of the burden. That tension spilled into the open earlier this month when Hochul’s attorney submitted a letter in a court case that in part alleged a lack of coordination by the city and criticized the city for rejecting some state resources.
Adams spoke Tuesday in a “fireside conversation” hosted by the New York Law School and the Center for New York City Law.
“This is a real leadership moment,” he said of the governor, who he separately praised for steps to improve subway safety. “And all those counties — we are the economic engine of this state. New York goes down. The entire state goes down.”
Hochul has sought to highlight the state’s contributions as the surge of migrants to the city reaches more than 58,000 — and counting — in its care. The state has provided National Guard presence, budgeted $1.5 billion in aid, lent the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens as a large-scale emergency housing site and is reimbursing the city for the cost of building and running Creedmoor as well as a larger tent complex on Randall’s Island in Manhattan.
City, state and federal are also working out the details — while butting heads on some specifics — of how to use the federally owned Floyd Bennett Field to shelter about 2,000 migrants.
Responding to the mayor’s criticism Tuesday, Hochul spokesperson Avi Small referred POLITICO to the governor’s speech on Thursday in which she implored the federal government for more help — while also stressing that helping new arrivals is a “moral imperative.”
Hochul said then she and Adams have been in countless meetings together with federal, business and community representatives, and they were on the same page about trying to expedite work authorization for the asylum-seekers and getting more federal aid.
“What we’ve said all along is just let them work and help us out financially,” she said.
Later Tuesday, Small offered additional comment: “It’s unfortunate that the mayor is choosing to point fingers at the state,” arguing that the state has provided the city with large amounts of financial support and the city should be working collaboratively.
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