Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency for New York City on Friday as the city struggled to cope with a wave of thousands of migrants from Latin America.
Adams said in a statement at City Hall that the city is preparing to spend $1 billion on its response and call for federal and state funding to help pay for housing and services. The caravan of migrants’ buses strained the city’s homeless shelter system.
“We need help, and we need it now,” Mr. Adams said.
Adams, a Democrat who took office in January, said the city is moving forward with plans to build a tent reception center on Randalls Island, just off Manhattan. City officials are also in talks with cruise ship companies to bring migrants on board.
Mr. Adams said the city has been overwhelmed by the roughly 17,000 migrants who have arrived since April. At least nine more buses arrive on Thursday.
The mayor said the city has set up 42 emergency shelters and enrolled 5,000 children in schools. However, he said the city urgently needs more help to provide services to migrants.
Mr. Adams said declaring a state of emergency would allow city officials to move more quickly to provide services. He said the city is also looking to bring some of the migrants to other cities.
“A city recovering from a global pandemic is being engulfed by a humanitarian crisis,” he said, adding that New York was “on the brink.”
Mr. Adams has received much criticism for his response to the crisis from homeless advocates and City Council members who disagree with efforts to help migrants. Live in tents or on ships. They have called for using vacant hotels and moving temporary residents into permanent housing.