New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Friday declared the migrant surge a state of emergency, telling reporters the influx will cost the city about $1 billion.
"This is a humanitarian crisis that started with violence and instability in South America, and it is being accelerated by American political dynamics," Adams said.
"The majority are adults, who cannot legally work in this country. Many are families with school-age children. Some are in desperate need of serious medical care," he added.
"We have not asked for this. There was never any agreement to take on the job of supporting thousands of asylum seekers. This responsibility was simply handed to us without warning as buses began showing up.
"We're going to do what we have to do in New York, but we do need help to deal with this crisis that we're facing."
Adams is asking for federal and state aid and also pressed Congress to pass legislation to shorten the mandatory waiting period for work papers for migrants.
The move comes after a record number of migrants were bused to the city on Sept. 18. At least 1,011 asylum seekers arrived in New York between Sept. 16 and 18, according to city officials.
More than 61,000 people are in city shelters now, a near-record, said Adams, and arriving families have enrolled 5,500 new students in New York City's public schools. Officials are renting rooms in more than 40 hotels across the city to try to keep up with the influx.
"This is unsustainable," Adams said. "New York City is doing all we can, but we are reaching the outer limit of our ability to help."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican governors have sent migrants to sanctuary cities, including New York, in protest of the Biden administration's border policies. Adams apparently tried to reach out to Abbott about plans to bus migrants to the city, but those efforts were turned down, reports The Texas Tribune.
"Our team reached out and … communicated with his team and stated, 'Can you let us know so we can coordinate the effort?' They refused to let us know. They continued to send the buses," Adams said at the time.
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