NY Mayor Eric Adams calls for 'coordination' with GOP governors, WH on bused migrants

"This is an American crisis that we need to face," Adams said.

September 18, 2022, 2:04 PM

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday called for more "coordination" with the federal government and Govs. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, and Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who are busing and flying newly arrived migrants to blue states across the country.

"I traveled to Washington last week, spoke with Sen. [Chuck] Schumer, Sen. [Kirsten] Gillibrand and other lawmakers and sat down with Biden administration to talk about -- how do we coordinate?" Adams, a Democrat, told ABC "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl, referencing New York's two Democratic senators.

"Their goal is to make sure that we get resources and coordination that's needed. … These migrants and asylum-seekers are not coming to any particular city. They're coming to America. This is an American crisis that we need to face," Adams said.

His comments come as Abbott has sent some 11,000 migrants from Texas to Chicago, New York and Washington in protest, Abbott has said, of Democrats' southern border policies. He most recently bused dozens of migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris' residence -- and DeSantis, embracing a similar strategy, last week flew migrants to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, which numerous critics denounced as a stunt.

Adams, whose city has accepted migrants bused up from Texas, on Sunday said New York had a "moral and legal obligation" to provide shelter and aid people who come there after entering the U.S.But he accused Abbott of declining to collaborate on efforts to transport the migrants, despite Abbott's office initially agreeing otherwise.

“We've reached out and stated that, 'Let's coordinate and work together so we can deal with this crisis together. They refused to do so," Adams said, adding, "I don't think it was politically expedient for them to coordinate. It was more to do this, basically, showmanship."

El Paso, Texas, Mayor Oscar Leeser who oversees a border city, also appeared on "This Week" on Sunday and expressed concern about the number of migrants coming across the southern border. But he said it was important to treat people entering the country humanely -- and to think of the work as a joint effort.

"The people are not coming to El Paso. They're coming to America," Leeser said.

When pressed by Karl, Mayor Adams insisted New York would remain a "sanctuary city" and that migrants who arrive will be cared for. (Karl noted that both Abbott and DeSantis declined to appear on "This Week" and discuss immigration.)

"This city has always been the sanctuary city, and we've always managed those who wanted to come to New York City to pursue the American dream," Adams said. But, he said, "We're not asking for people all over the country to send people to New York merely because they don't want to take on their responsibility to help those who are seeking this American dream. That is not what we're asking for."

"Let's coordinate in that fashion like we've done with other large communities we have in New York City, where we're able to coordinate, get sponsors, work with our nongovernmental organizations. That is what crisis calls for," Adams said. "It calls for coordination."

Asked by Karl if he planned to accept Abbott's invitation to visit the border, Adams declined to answer directly and pivoted to criticizing Abbott's "political ploy" by sending migrants away.

Mayor Leeser told Karl that the number of migrants coming to El Paso continues to increase, with the city seeing roughly 2,000 migrants in a single day last week. But he emphasized that they would be treated compassionately as they are transported to their final destinations after being processed by government officials.

"That's been really important, that we don't send anyone where they don't want to go, we make sure we help them," Leeser said. "We put them on the buses with food and make sure they get to their destination and make sure that we always continue to treat people like human beings."

Asked by Karl if he was aware of how the Biden administration planned to handle the ongoing migration -- as Republican leaders like Abbott stress they feel the White House has no plan -- Leeser cited his own strong relationship with Border Patrol. But he said the issue affected more than his city.

For their parts, Abbott and DeSantis have argued Democratic-led states and cities away from the southern border aren't doing enough amid the high border crossings, with DeSantis warning that the flights to Martha's Vineyard are "just the beginning efforts."

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