Migrant crisis to cost New York $12 bn over three years: mayor

Hundreds of migrants line up early on August 1, 2023, for possible placement at the Roosev

The migrant crisis in New York, where large numbers of asylum seekers are arriving daily, may well cost the United States’ most populous city $12 billion over three years, Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday.

The city’s legal obligation to provide free emergency housing to anyone in need, a right-to-shelter mandate unique in the country, is being put to the test with the arrival of nearly 100,000 asylum seekers since April last year.

Authorities here estimate each migrant is costing New York an average of $383 per day.

“The city has already spent $1.45 billion in fiscal year 2023 to provide shelter, food, and services to tens of thousands of asylum seekers,” Adams, a Democrat, said in a statement.

But as the city nears the 100,000 mark for new arrivals since the spring of 2022, “without further support, new cost estimates based on current trends show that the city has the potential to spend upwards of $12 billion over three fiscal years without policy changes,” he said.

That amounts to more than four percent of the city’s budget.

Adams described “an unprecedented state of emergency” in this American city built by immigrants, where dozens of mainly West Africans seeking a better life were seen sleeping outside a Manhattan hotel last week.

Nearly 200 shelters, hotels, schools and other emergency venues have been set up to house the more than 57,000 asylum seekers currently in the city of 8.5 million people that is America’s financial capital and a global tourism destination.

The migrants are relying on the mandate for food, clothing, and health care, along with schooling for the thousands of minors who have arrived with their parents and often need language learning.

New York “cannot continue to manage this national crisis on its own,” said Adams, a Black former police officer who hails from the moderate wing of the Democratic Party and who is seeking help from the federal government.

“New Yorkers’ compassion may be limitless, but our resources are not.”

The mayor wants work permits expedited so that immigrants can make a living, and is calling on federal officials to declare a state of emergency to better manage the crisis at the US border with Mexico and to distribute asylum seekers more equitably throughout the country.

New York continues to receive buses dispatched from southern states like Texas, governed by Republicans, which protest what they claim are overly permissive immigration policies by Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration.

“New Yorkers did not create an international humanitarian crisis,” Adams said, “but our city’s residents have been left to deal with this crisis almost entirely on our own.”


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