On Tuesday, during their weekly media-availability panel, Adams opened by jumping into a brief discussion about his housing policies. Subsequently, he quickly transitioned his focus to the migrant and asylum seeker crisis, once again referencing it as the “number one issue that we’re facing.”
Adams said that the city is receiving, on average two to three thousand asylum seekers per week and stressed that the resources required to maintain the relevant systems were aggressively eating into the city’s budget. The mayor also made claims that over 50% of the individuals that came through the current asylum system have now gone on to be self-sufficient in “one way or another”. Finding a reference that confirms this statistic proved difficult, and analyzing asylum results myself requires more in-depth analysis.
If, however, Adams’ statistic on self-sustainability is accurate it would be helpful if his administration would communicate it more clearly to the general public. Either way, it would be a pleasant shift from the doom and gloom atmosphere that inevitably accompanies immigration discussion in America; the process of reframing illegal immigrants from parasites (a common sentiment espoused throughout both sides of the aisle) to contributing members of our society holds weight when it comes to the reception of the general American public.
Adams went on to remind the assembled press that earlier today his office announced that they’ve “helped file” over 16,000 TPS/work authorization requests. During the Q&A section, they confirmed that 800 had already been approved.
Throughout the time he dedicated to speaking on immigration, Adams consistently circled the conversation back to the reality that he lacked a national strategy from the federal government on how to face this growing migrant crisis; he sees his efforts to mitigate the city’s asylum situation as temporary bandaids that, outside of a cohesive national plan, will continue to siphon funds from the city’s already strained budget. He’s eager to ensure the public understands that “this is not the budget we wanted to pass”. In an ideal world, he said, he would be allocating funds to improve children’s education, to keep the streets clean and to improve our infrastructure. He uses this to place himself clearly on the side of his average constituent and attempts to illustrate how he, we, and the city are being abandoned by the government.
Immigration, however, is not the topic that’s been hogging headlines in the Eric Adams news-cycle this past week and a half.
A majority of the assembled press were waiting anxiously to hear Adams’ response regarding the FBI probe into his campaign and the recent allegation of sexual assault that was levied against him last Wednesday. Adams got a further few minutes of reprieve when the first question came in (it was regarding K5, the facial recognition patrol bot from Knightscope that currently helps police the Times Square subway station) but this did not last long.
Already, the second person with his hand in the air pressed Adams on his professional visits to Turkey and he attempted to get a clarification regarding the date of his first state visit. A handful of questions also centered around an alleged NYFD priority list for inspections that Adams– along with several of his subordinates–says never existed, although he suggests that such a system could theoretically have been in use in a prior administration.
Adams only fielded one question regarding the sexual assault allegation against him, but it’s clear, both from the woman’s history as well as his own disposition, that the mayor isn’t as concerned with the accusation as he is with the FBI probe. The unfortunate reality, however, is that we hardly learned anything new regarding the pressing legal issues the mayor faces; from this perspective, the weekly event created to foster clearer communication between press and government today was more a form of public appeasement than a medium he could use to provide transparency into the ongoing legislative situations that are afflicting his administration.