“President Biden’s coming to the city,” Adams, a Democrat, said Wednesday. “I am hoping that he understands this beautiful city that’s the economic engine of the entire country is being saddled with $2 billion that we spent already, $5 billion we’re going to spend in this fiscal crisis, $12 billion in the next two budgetary cycles. New York doesn’t deserve this. The asylum seekers don’t deserve this.”
Adams has not exactly become a border hawk. He has called Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) a “madman” for sending buses of volunteer immigrants to his city and is calling for immigrants to receive work permits faster so that they can get jobs.
The White House has so far resisted calls to speed up work permits, reportedly over concerns about lawsuits and the likelihood of such a move to draw more immigrants to the border.
The mayor did not directly criticize Biden for not meeting with him, though he was asked about it in three separate local television interviews on Wednesday morning. Each time, Adams reiterated that he’s in communication with the White House and stressed the stakes of the situation.
Adams says 10,000 more immigrants arrive each month, and the city is required to shelter them by law. He has also called for Biden to declare an emergency over the migrant crisis.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment, but press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to a press briefing question from the Washington Examiner by stressing that the Biden administration was in touch with Adams.
“We take this very seriously,” she said Aug. 16. “We’re continuing to have that conversation. I don’t have anything else to add beyond that. But we are literally in touch with them almost on a daily basis.”
Even so, the lack of direct contact between Biden and Adams is a stark change from a year ago.
The pair attended a fundraiser together last September during the 2022 General Assembly meetings. Adams once called himself the “Biden of Brooklyn” and was deployed as a Biden campaign surrogate.
The harshest comments from Adams came earlier this month when he described illegal immigration as an existential crisis for his city.
“Let me tell you something, New Yorkers,” the mayor said during a community meeting. “Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City.”
Biden did meet this week with Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY), who has been more measured in her remarks and at times has criticized Adams.
But if Biden’s relationship with Adams rests on the migrant crisis slowing in New York, it may be a while before they’re back on speaking terms.
Border crossings are rising again, and the mayor of Eagle Pass, Texas, declared an emergency this week due to a surge of crossings from Mexico. Approximately 1,500 crossed over a river leading into the city Sunday night into Monday.
Despite his harsh words for Abbott, Adams has called for stemming the tide of immigrants.
“We’ve witnessed that a substantial number have left our shelter system, but over 60,000, 70,000 are still there,” he told Fox 5 New York. “It’s just not moving at the right pace. But the question becomes ‘Why aren’t we stopping this at the source, and why aren’t we dealing with this as a national crisis that it is?'”