President Joe Biden engaged in meetings with various world leaders throughout the week, but notably absent was any meeting with New York Mayor Eric Adams. Biden had recently returned from New York City, where he participated in the United Nations General Assembly, delivered speeches, and attended fundraisers with affluent Democratic supporters.
This absence of a meeting was in the context of Mayor Adams expressing criticism of President Biden due to the influx of over 110,000 immigrants arriving in New York City over the past 18 months. While not adopting a stringent border stance, Adams has voiced concerns about the financial burden on the city, including $2 billion already spent, an additional $5 billion expected during the fiscal crisis, and $12 billion projected for the next two budget cycles. He emphasized the strain on New York and asylum-seekers alike.
Despite these concerns, Adams has not embraced a hardline approach on immigration. He has criticized Texas Governor Greg Abbott for sending volunteer immigrants to his city and called for faster issuance of work permits to help immigrants secure employment. The White House, however, has been cautious about accelerating the work permit process, citing concerns about potential lawsuits and the possibility of encouraging more immigration to the border.
Mayor Eric Adams did not directly criticize President Biden for not meeting with him, though he was asked about it in three separate local television interviews. In each instance, Adams emphasized that he maintains communication with the White House and underscored the seriousness of the situation.
Adams has been highlighting that around 10,000 more immigrants arrive in the city each month, and the city is legally obliged to provide shelter for them. He has also called for President Biden to declare a state of emergency regarding the migrant crisis.
While the White House did not offer a specific comment on this matter, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has previously noted that the administration maintains regular contact with Adams. However, the absence of direct contact between Biden and Adams marks a significant shift from a year ago.
The two leaders attended a fundraiser together in September of the previous year during the 2022 General Assembly meetings. Adams was previously a vocal Biden supporter, even referring to himself as the “Biden of Brooklyn” and serving as a surrogate for Biden’s campaign.
Now, Adams has garnered comparisons to a different president, with some liberal critics labeling him as the “black Trump.” He no longer serves as a Biden surrogate.
Adams’ strongest comments on the immigration issue came earlier in the month when he described illegal immigration as an existential crisis for New York City, expressing a sense of hopelessness about the situation.
President Biden did meet with Governor Kathy Hochul, who has taken a more measured approach in her remarks and occasionally criticized Adams. However, if the relationship between Biden and Adams hinges on the resolution of the migrant crisis in New York, it may be some time before they engage in direct dialogue.
Border crossings have been increasing, with the mayor of Eagle Pass, Texas, declaring an emergency due to a surge in crossings from Mexico. Approximately 1,500 individuals crossed over a river leading into the city on a single night.
Despite his criticisms of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Adams has also called for efforts to address the immigration issue at its source, recognizing it as a national crisis.