Eric Adams shows Biden’s border policies vexing Democrats as well as GOP

From my border tour last month. Yuma, AZ. Reports are on Substack

President Joe Biden is used to GOP criticism over immigration, but Eric Adams is different.

The New York City mayor has been making noise about immigrants flooding his city for months but took the rhetoric to a new level last week.

“Let me tell you something, New Yorkers,” the Democratic 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.”

“Every community in this city is going to be impacted,” Adams continued. “We have a $12 billion deficit that we’re going to have to cut — every service in this city is going to be impacted. All of us.”

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And Adams pointed the finger at Biden, saying he’s “getting no support on this national crisis.” The two have not spoken directly this year, though the mayor has been in touch with White House staff.

New York City has received some 110,000 immigrants over the last year and is reducing overtime pay for workers in the city’s police, fire, sanitation, and corrections departments to help balance the budget.

While conservatives may hope they’ve found a cross-party ally in their calls to secure the southern border, Adams does not see it that way. He has called for money from the federal government to help house immigrants and called for a faster path to work permits, which take at least six months to process under current law. Adams in the past has blamed “right-wing opposition” for border chaos.

Even so, the situation is ratcheting up pressure on the Biden administration. GOP critics are working to make immigration a campaign issue, with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) saying on Sept. 11 that border lawlessness makes the United States more vulnerable to a future terrorist attack.

The White House has resisted calls to speed up work permits, reportedly over concerns about lawsuits and the potential for such a move to draw more immigrants to the border. Biden officials instead point the finger at Congress.

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“Only Congress can really reform,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Sept. 7. “The president has done all that he can from his perch, but we need more, and we need Congress to act.”

Biden released an immigration reform proposal on his first day in office that Republicans say is not serious.

“Why on earth should Congress pass legislation effectively making these open-borders policies implemented by Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden law?” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) told the Washington Examiner. “‘Comprehensive immigration reform’ is nothing more than D.C.-doublespeak for ‘mass amnesty,’ and such irresponsible legislation like that proposed by the president would only worsen the border crisis.”

Congress did act, or at least the House did, by passing the Secure the Border Act in May. But that bill stands little chance in the Democratically controlled Senate, and Biden has promised to veto it.

Still, the president may be forced to act in one way or the other, argues the Heritage Foundation’s Lora Ries.

“This makes life more difficult for the Biden White House and creates an optics problem, which is the only thing the administration responds to,” she said.

While New York is a Democratic stronghold, Biden frequently flies into the city for fundraisers and is likely to listen if well-heeled donors speak up. Ries predicts that the White House may facilitate moving immigrants elsewhere to reduce the pressure.

“If these mayors really don’t like this, they need to tell the White House to stop the flow,” Ries said, “and they need to abandon sanctuary policies.”

Adams’s office said he is not interested in revisiting New York’s sanctuary city status, but he has said its right to shelter law must be looked at. The law dates to 1981 and holds that anyone without a roof over their head can get one through a city-run shelter system.

“New York City’s Right to Shelter Decree is impacting New Yorkers in ways never considered or intended and has become an instrument to exacerbate the crisis for NYC, not solve it,” an Adams spokesperson said.

Michelle Mittelstadt, communications director at the Migration Policy Institute, says money will likely continue to be an issue for the White House as several jurisdictions look for help addressing the impact of immigrants.

“For fiscal year 2023, the federal government will provide $363.8 million to communities and non-government organizations across the U.S. to help defray the costs of services for recently arrived migrants,” she said. “That’s a fraction of what New York City alone is spending.”

Mittelstadt also points to political instability and economic shocks in places like Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua that will likely contribute to more people surging to the border in the future.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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