Neither President Biden nor Gov. Kathy Hochul have offered to pick up New York City’s $600 million bill for housing the migrants pouring in from the southern border — because “nobody wanted to talk about it” during “campaign season,” Mayor Eric Adams said Monday.
Asked by The Post if he went to the governor to declare a state of emergency to make it easier to get federal funds, Adams said, “I was talking about funding in the middle of campaign season, but it seemed like people were going being more focused on running from one place to the next.”
Both Biden, as the Democratic national leader, and Hochul, as head of state, struggled to survive ahead of the midterm elections, with Hochul narrowly defeating Republican challenger Lee Zeldin.
Noting that he was the only one who kept talking about the migrant crisis during election season, Adams noted, “We’re still fighting for reimbursement.”
“We think the campaign season is over, it’s time for people to focus on this issue, we need to be compensated,” he said during an independent press briefing at City Hall.
“We spent a lot of money on a national issue and are seeking reimbursement and support from the state and federal government.”
Adams made the remarks as he was pressed for his government’s handling of the migrant crisis, following a new report from the Independent Budget Office that put the price of housing the 17,500 people in the shelter system at $596 million.
Adams paused, however, and accused Hochul of deliberately sidelining the issue to shield her flagging campaign.
But despite saying Hochul was too busy to focus on the matter, Adams then called her a “real partner” on the matter.
“The governor was a real partner. She was in the room with me, with the President, when the President came here to respond to the hurricane in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic,” he added. “The governor has been very vocal about ‘we need to have a real solution at the border’ and ‘we need to get funding here’.”
City Hall is asking for over $500 million in assistance from the federal government — but officials have only officially filed the necessary paperwork to recoup the $4.8 million in costs to date, sources said. When asked if the city had asked for more, Adams declined to answer.
Adams simply replied “have to let it happen” when asked if Hochul might declare a state of emergency to expedite the city’s request for federal aid, but would not confirm if he had specifically requested the measure.
City Hall did not immediately respond to questions for additional information about what help might become available if Hochul made such a statement to the FBI.
A statement from Hochul’s office circumvented the problem.
“We have worked closely with the city to address the immediate needs of asylum seekers coming to our state, including by providing transportation and deploying the National Guard to support the city’s efforts,” Hochul- Press Secretary Hazel Crampton-Hays. “We continue to support the city’s requests for federal aid.”
The IBO based its estimate of $596 million on the likely cost of housing the 17,500 migrants – mostly asylum seekers from Venezuela – in city-funded homeless shelters, hotel rooms rented to provide emergency housing and reception centers.
It was unable to provide a separate figure for how much it would cost City Hall to offer them social services beyond housing, saying “the number of arrivals continues to evolve”.
About three-quarters of the 23,000 new arrivals from the southern border are in shelters — many fleeing violence and economic collapse in chaos-torn Venezuela.
Much of the criticism has centered on Adams’ decision to build tent cities to offer processing services and temporary barracks-style accommodation to asylum seekers after crowds overwhelmed the city’s shelter system reception facilities.
Meanwhile, at the same press conference, Adams defended the largely late tent city plan as a vital test of New York’s emergency preparedness.
“I’m just really amazed by those who don’t see the successful execution of a plan,” Adams told reporters at a news conference after an unrelated event at City Hall.
“We executed a plan,” he added. “Part of the plan was to be prepared…to have the Lord [tent city] on Randall’s Island.”
Officials initially attempted to open a facility in Orchard Beach but had to abandon the plan after construction, but never opened the temporary tent structures due to flooding in corners, which they initially downplayed.
Adams then moved the facility to Randall’s Island, where it has always had light use – opened when Biden decided to stem the flow of Venezuelans into the country while they await a decision on their asylum claims – and is now scheduled to close this week.
City Hall has declined to provide a full accounting of the costs — but Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol revealed that demolishing the Orchard Beach facility had cost $325,000 and that moving to Randall’s would cost another $325,000 had cost US dollars.
Staten Island politicians — including Republican minority leader on the council Joe Borelli — asked the IBO to conduct the analysis after weeks of city hall refusal to provide a statement of costs incurred so far.
IBO’s analysis comes just a day after the mayor lowered his own public estimates of the cost of the crisis from the $1 billion figure he cited when he declared the city’s state of emergency over the migrant issue in October.
https://nypost.com/2022/11/14/campaign-season-kept-kathy-hochul-from-getting-ny-aid-for-600m-migrant-tab-eric-adams/ ‘Campaign season’ kept Kathy Hochul from receiving $600m NY aid for migrants: Eric Adams