Mayor Eric Adams has only one strategy for the refugee crisis that has grown the city’s homeless shelters to six figures: extort billions from Washington.
That gambit will continue to fail, as it has for a year, and for two solid political reasons from the National Democrats’ point of view.
Federal aid would be pointless at best.
New York is a thoroughly democratic state.
At worst, federal aid will make the problem worse — and more visible to swing voters nationally.
If the definition of insane is doing or saying the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result, Adams qualifies.
Last week he was there again: “New Yorkers have to deal with this crisis almost alone,” he said. “We’re forcing Washington to help.”
But he ignores the fact that New York helped make this crisis.
Yes, President Joe Biden failed to secure the border, and Biden and Congress failed to create and enforce rational immigration and asylum policies.
But New York is the only city in the country that makes the impossible possible: offering permanent housing to every single person who arrives here for any reason from anywhere in the world.
“What we’re doing is what no other municipality is doing,” the mayor said.
That’s because it doesn’t make any sense.
New York has long had an immigrant population, including those who are illegal residents of the country.
But immigrants always found their own jobs and housing (on the black market), often renting a room in a rundown apartment in Queens or the Bronx.
It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.
What not The work consists of the city of New York competing with tourists and business travelers to inflate the prices of thousands of hotel rooms to accommodate an unlimited number of newcomers from four continents.
Adams is hiding behind the city’s “right to housing” commitment.
But the state’s highest court never ruled on the basis of obligation: whether the state constitutional policy of helping those “in need” created a right to housing.
Adams could contest whether this supposed “right” applies to people with no connection to New York City, but he hasn’t.
Instead, he’s doing what New York did after 9/11, after the 2008 financial crisis, and during COVID: asking Washington for billions.
If you’re a White House insider, the obvious question is: what’s in it for President Biden?
What will New Yorkers do if they don’t like the cold shoulder of voting for Donald Trump?
On September 11, New York had a Republican governor and mayor.
During the 2008 financial crisis and COVID, the city benefited from the fact that each era’s presidents, Barack Obama and Trump, had personal ties to the city. (Obama is a graduate of Columbia University.)
Biden has no personal ties to New York, and he knows the state won’t be remotely involved next year.
Yes, last year Lee Zeldin, a Trump supporter of the Republicans, almost won the governorship and New York State lost the Democrats in the House of Representatives.
But those results were because voters were fed up with state politicians (over crime and quality of life) rather than national issues.
So there is no political advantage to sending billions to New York – but many disadvantages.
The announcement that Washington will give New York perpetual billions to house migrants in midtown Manhattan will resonate around the world — and encourage more people to cross the border.
Similarly, Adams wanted the government to house migrants on federal properties in Brooklyn (Floyd Bennett Field) and Staten Island (Fort Wadsworth).
Over the weekend, however, the White House turned down the Brooklyn location — humiliating the governor who made the request.
Has Adams Really I think the White House wants to send this message to potential cross-border commuters: Come to New York, the federal government has a bed on a military base ready for you!
The national narrative—even in swing states—would be: Biden’s pledge to guarantee unlimited housing for migrants in the country’s most expensive city, including right on federal land, is fueling another surge at the border.
Besides, the city would actually run any housing on federal property — meaning Washington would relinquish control, even if it retained responsibility in the eyes of national voters for any failure at the sites, from bad food to sexual assaults.
There’s a reason the White House treats New York with contempt.
Not only is it politically risk-free to tell New York to drop dead. It reduced political risk.
Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor for the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.