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‘Help is not on the way’: Adams despondent over migrant funding after DC trip

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‘Help is not on the way’: Adams despondent over migrant funding after DC trip


The trip marked his tenth to the capital to discuss — and lobby for — migrant funding since taking office, City Hall reps said.

On this week’s trip, Adams didn’t get any commitments of federal reimbursements for asylum-seeker care, allowance for more migrants to legally work, or a plan to enact a “decompression strategy” to divert migrants from New York — requests he is making as he grapples with an influx of more than 150,000 people seeking asylum since last spring. He readily describes it as a crisis that he predicts will cost the city $12 billion over three years.

While his priorities remain in limbo, Adams is getting some help.

FEMA Director of Public Affairs Jaclyn Rothenberg confirmed the disaster agency will have a staffer embedded in the mayor’s office “to help streamline the information sharing” — something Adams’ chief of staff Camille Joseph Varlack mentioned last month.

Congress is in the midst of negotiating a supplemental budget package that could get Adams some of what he wants, like aid for municipalities serving migrants, and stricter border policies. But not even the powerful leaders from New York can promise the mayor anything at this point.

“People think that Schumer and Jeffries know what will happen and are keeping it close to the vest, but we really don’t know what will happen,” a New York-affiliated Hill staffer granted anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations told POLITICO.

Another person close to negotiations described them as “extremely fluid.”

But the city’s delegation is on board with securing more money for New York, the staffer said, adding: “He shouldn’t feel disheartened that Democrats don’t understand that the migrant crisis is fucking killing us.”

The problem has overwhelmed City Hall since migrants seeking asylum began coming to New York in larger numbers last year. Adams has continually lamented the situation, while using the issue as a scapegoat for his and the city’s myriad problems. As a result, his and Biden’s once-chummy relationship has taken a turn.

Just this week, a Quinnipiac University poll revealed the depths of Adams’ troubles: A mere 28 percent of New York City voters approve of his job performance. The mayor once again blamed that result on the federal government declining to support New York more as it contends with migrants who need housing, work and schooling.

Just 26 percent of city voters approve of the way he’s handling migrants.

“Our residents are weary, our residents are angry, our residents are seeing the impact of the migrants and asylum-seeker issue,” he said, “how it is taking away from the resources that should go to the day-to-day resources of running a city.”

Adams responded Friday by doing what many politicians do in times of crisis — surrounding himself with religious leaders.

The mayor held a press conference on religious unity at a time when the city has seen a 250 percent rise in ethnically-motivated hate crimes in the last two months, he said Friday, including a 150 percent rise in antisemitic hate crimes.

Adams was also given a surprising show of solidarity from Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, who has been floated as a progressive challenger to the mayor for his reelection.

“A lot of folks might take too much time talking about what makes he and I different. When we’re together, we talk about what makes us the same and the things we agree on,” Reynoso said — gifting the mayor a toy sanitation truck to highlight their mutual antipathy toward rats.

But don’t read into the action for insight on a potential mayoral run, he said in a text message after the event: “Just showing love, nothing more.”



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