NEW YORK - Mayor Eric Adams stood in Foley Square on Thursday morning flanked by local elected officials, business and union leaders, calling on the federal government to expedite work permits for migrants.
The crowd of around 200 repeatedly chanted "let them work."
Currently, the city is caring for nearly 60,000 migrants and Adams has been pleading with federal and state officials for additional resources.
In response, the Department of Homeland Security conducted an assessment and highlighted several operational inadequacies in the city's handling of migrants. The report also outlined actionable recommendations to enhance the city's approach.
However, in response, Adams said that it is easy to make criticisms from the sidelines.
"Don’t tell us how we could have done it better," Adams said at the rally. "Don't sit on the bleachers and be a spectator…get on the field and fight this battle with us."
Governor Kathy Hochul engaged in a two-hour meeting with White House officials on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing migrant crisis but said the help offered fell far short of what is needed.
Hochul is facing increasing pressure from city officials to relocate migrants to shelters throughout the rest of the state, a move she has been resisting.
"New York City makes up 0.05% of the landmass, yet we have 99.5% of asylum seekers here. The solution is not just New York City; the solution is New York state and the United States," Adams said.
Six Republican state lawmakers recently sent a letter calling for a special session to discuss bills to tackle the migrant crisis. Currently, there is no sign that lawmakers would return to Albany before January for this issue, but Democratic State Senator Jessica Ramos said she would be open to the idea as long as discussions include housing proposals.
"I would be supportive of a special session if we're going to do the right things when it comes to housing here in New York," Senator Ramos said.
A spokesperson for Adams tells me that they invited Democratic congressional members to be at the rally here today but none of them showed up. The White House has repeatedly said that the solution to this migrant crisis lies with Congress.