How Eric Adams became a proponent of immigration restrictions

Public intellectual Irving Kristol famously said that the definition of a neocon is “a liberal invaded by reality.”

For the same reason, the definition of a convert to immigration restrictionism is a big city mayor struggling with a flood of illegal immigrants pouring into his city.

In his desperate pleas for government help to deal with the approximately 100,000 illegal immigrants who have arrived in New York City since the spring of 2022, Mayor Eric Adams defends the restrictive stance on immigration with almost every utterance.

All it took to shatter the foul stereotypes that have shaped the progressive position on the issue was a large influx of illegal immigrants.

If immigration is a pure good, this influx should be a boon for the Big Apple and its future. Why stop at 100,000 when the city could have 200,000 or 300,000? If immigration isn’t a cost, why is New York spending $5 billion this year to accommodate the influx?

New York City “is being devastated by the refugee crisis,” Adams said.

There you have it – immigration itself has the power to bring a big city to its knees.

Long gone are the days when Adams promised (during his campaign) to “lift immigrants as high as the Statue of Liberty lifts her torch in our harbor, as a beacon of hope to all who come to our shores.” Now it sounds much like Donald Trump or a late Roman emperor being overthrown by the influx of Vandals and Goths.

Asylum seekers fill the sidewalk in front of the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
Asylum seekers fill the sidewalk in front of the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
Steve Sanchez/Sipa USA

New York has actively deterred immigrants or, to use the progressive line, “slammed the door on new immigrants.”

The city is handing out fliers at the border that say, “Housing in NYC is very expensive,” and no one can say that the advert isn’t true.

“Please consider another city when making your decision about where to reside in the United States,” the request reads.

In other words, why not try Philadelphia?

Rally in City Hall Park calling on President Joe Biden to declare a state of emergency over the refugee crisis in New York.
Rally in City Hall Park calling on President Joe Biden to declare a state of emergency over the refugee crisis in New York.
Lev Radin/Sipa USA

Adams learns the key questions about immigration: how many, from where, with what skills and what will they do once they get here?

The fact is, as the border regions have already recognized, that the encroachment of low-skilled migrants with few connections in the community will be an unbearable burden.

It is true that there are unique circumstances at play here. Asylum seekers cannot work until their applications have been reviewed for six months; New York City has a housing rights law that has increased costs.

However, if asylum seekers, many of whom submit false applications, were granted immediate work permits, it would be a further incentive for illegal immigration. And even places without New York’s protection laws have come under pressure from the arrival of Biden-era illegal immigrants and have declared states of emergency.

Aside from the immigration wave of recent years, immigrants to America rely heavily on public funds as they tend to be poor and poorly educated. An analysis of Census Bureau data by the Center for Immigration Studies shows that 58% of immigrant-headed households in New York state benefit from at least one welfare program.

Although illegal immigrants are technically not eligible for some of these programs, their US-born children are not.

And as we’re seeing in the current crisis, when people show up in need of shelter, medical care and education, no one is going to just say “no.”

To his credit, Adams paid more attention to federal failings at the border, but a central part of the Adams immigration plan was blocking federal enforcement.

Well, government enforcement of immigration rules isn’t such a bad thing. What New York City aspires to, after all the routine chanting of the Statue of Liberty, is for fewer immigrants to compete for resources and attention with those already in the city.

That really shouldn’t be too much to ask. Welcome to reality, Mayor Adams.

Twitter: @RichLowry


DUSTIN JONES is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DUSTIN JONES joined USTimeToday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with DUSTIN JONES by emailing

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