'Excellent swimmers': Adams floats migrants as solution for NYC lifeguard shortage

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during his weekly in-person news conference at City Halls Blue Room on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in New York. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday called for migrants to be allowed to work as lifeguards as the city faces a shortage for the role -- arguing that many are "excellent swimmers."

Adams was asked at a press conference about a lifeguard shortage in the city as Memorial Day nears and with the summer months approaching.

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He said the situation could be helped "If we had a migrant and asylum seeker plan that states those jobs that we are…in high demand we could expedite."

"How do we have a large body of people that are in our city, and country, that are excellent swimmers and, at the same time, we need lifeguards -- and the only obstacle is that we won’t give them the right to work to become a lifeguard," he said.

"That just doesn’t make sense."

He listed off other occupations, including food service workers and nurses, where the Big Apple may face shortages.

"We have all these eligible people waiting to work with the skills we need to fill the jobs but we are unable to allow them to work because bureaucracy is in the way," he said. "That just does not make sense."

The city has been grappling with a migrant crisis that has enveloped the city in recent years. Officials recently said that there have been more than 1950,000 migrants who have entered the shelter system since 2022, and more than 65,000 are still in the shelter system.

Adams is one of a number of blue city mayors who have called for additional funding and expedited work permits amid other moves from the federal government. A spokesperson for Adams earlier this week told Fox that a "national humanitarian crisis requires a national solution."

The spokesperson said they continue to call on New Yorkers to urge the federal government for "meaningful financial support, to create a national resettlement strategy for migrants, and to finish the job they started by allowing the hundreds of thousands of those they let into this country to immediately work."