Some Democrats have voiced concerns about the way New York’s leaders are managing the surge of migrants, suggesting it could be a “disaster” for the party in the upcoming elections.
The disagreement between NYC Mayor Eric Adams and NY Governor Kathy Hochul over their handling of the migrant situation has become public knowledge. According to Mayor Adams’ office, the city has accommodated over 100,000 migrants with shelter and other services since the past spring.
Concerned Democrats have informed the New York Times that the ongoing crisis, if not addressed, could have significant electoral consequences, especially after the party’s loss of four House seats in the 2022 midterms.
Charlie King, a Democratic political consultant, expressed to the paper, “It’s just a question of when this all sort of explodes. I just don’t know how long you can evade this, and I don’t know that it gets better in the next 18 to 24 months.”
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Former political adviser to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Democratic strategist Howard Wolfson, described the situation as a “ticking time bomb,” suggesting that the strategy to relocate migrants to other cities could politically backfire.
“There is no question in my mind that the politics of this is a disaster to Democrats,” Wolfson conveyed to the Times. He further mentioned the potential for this issue to jeopardize Democrats’ hold on the House due to its significant impact in New York City and its resonation in key suburban districts.
The Times noted that transferring more migrants out of NYC could ignite tension in suburban and conservative regions. This would provide an opportunity for national Republicans to capitalize on this as a campaign issue and fundraising tool.
Additionally, the article underscored critiques from Democrats who believe Governor Hochul isn’t taking enough measures to alleviate NYC from the challenges posed by the migrants’ arrival.
Joshua Goldfein of the Legal Aid Society opined that Hochul should enact a statewide policy on this matter, similar to what former Governor Andrew Cuomo might have pursued.
Several NY counties have opposed Mayor Adams’ initiative to shelter asylum seekers within their limits, highlighting concerns related to crime. In response, Adams has urged Hochul to implement an executive directive to prevent such localities from enacting bans on constructing migrant accommodations.
Earlier in June, Adams initiated legal action against 30 NY counties that had introduced local directives to halt the city’s efforts to settle migrants.
However, Governor Hochul’s team asserts that the city possesses a distinct legal mandate to provide shelter to anyone in need, as mentioned by the Times.
Avi Small, representing the governor, emphasized to the Times that the preferable solution is to offer migrants lawful employment rather than forceful relocation.
Governor Hochul’s legal team also pointed out to Adams the state’s contribution of nearly $1.5 billion in assistance to the city and their commitment to ongoing financial support.
Both authorities have laid responsibility on the Biden administration, labeling the situation a national dilemma.
In a recent correspondence to Adams, Hochul’s legal representatives stated, “The migrant crisis has been extremely costly and will continue to require significant financial resources. Neither the City nor the State should have to absorb these operational needs or costs for what is a matter of federal concern.”
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