Adams unveils NYC migrant blueprint with national resettlement implications while stumping for Biden

New York City Mayor Eric Adams launched a blueprint Tuesday for dealing with the multibillion-dollar migrant crisis that includes resettlements outside the Big Apple and job training. The Democrat also vowed stumping for President Biden would not prevent him from challenging the federal government’s border policies.

Adams, who was recently added to the national advisory campaign for Biden’s re-election, rejected the notion that it would compromise his ability to challenge the president on the border crisis.

One call to action from the federal government Adams identified in his “blueprint to address New York City’s response to the asylum seeker crisis” is “a designated leader to resolve the national border crisis and coordinate all relevant agencies and entities, including those in localities where migrants settle.”

Critics have noted Vice President Kamala Harris is already supposed to have that job.

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“I dislike what we’re doing around the asylum seekers, but I always say that I believe the president is just a blue-collar president, I’m a blue-collar mayor,” Adams said of Biden. “I like his policies. I think he’s good for the country, and it doesn’t mean I’m going to agree with him 100% on everything.”

“I think that he’s moving the country in the right direction, and I’m happy to be part of his panel,” Adams said at a press conference. “I’m glad he thought enough of New York City and what I’m doing around public safety, what I’m doing around navigating us during this difficult time.”

The blueprint, named “The Road Forward,” says the city is “in the early stage of being able to assist asylum seekers in relocating to their preferred city of choice,” adding national implications to Adams’ relocation plan. “Ultimately, New York City isn’t equipped to meet the complex needs of asylum seekers given their current rapid rate of arrival,” the blueprint says.

“For relocation within New York State, the recently released state budget includes $25 million to assist in the resettlement of certain families,” the blueprint added.

Another option to resettle asylum seekers throughout the state is the migrant workforce training pilot, in partnership with The Center for Discovery and SUNY Sullivan.

Adams’ administration said it will offer asylum seekers the opportunity to relocate to Sullivan County, attend SUNY Sullivan Community College, live in college residence halls and earn a post-secondary credential or degree.

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“Asylum seekers will also receive workforce training through The Center for Discovery in health care, human services, hospitality, culinary, and agricultural sectors,” the plan says. “One of the program’s goals is to develop a blueprint so that others around the state can replicate the model.”

New York City has seen an influx of 50,000 asylum seekers since last April – more than 30,000 of whom remain in the city’s care.

In unveiling the blueprint at City Hall, Adams announced he will create the Office of Asylum Seeker Operations to focus solely on coordinating the city’s continued response with a focus on resettlement and legal services, as well as a new 24/7 arrival center for asylum seekers.

The blueprint also outlines new strategies the city will pilot to train asylum seekers for employment, including a program with houses of worship to provide asylum seekers with a place to stay and connection to services, in addition to the partnership with SUNY Sullivan to provide job training and housing for asylum seekers as they await work authorization.

Adams’s office said the city “will continue to advocate for the state and federal governments to provide additional financial and operational support to better manage the asylum seeker crisis moving forward.”

Before Tuesday, New York City had already launched the Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center and satellite sites, which have now served more than 14,000 asylum seekers, providing casework, legal, medical, and school enrollment, as well as a range of other services.

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The city has opened 92 emergency shelter sites and currently has open seven Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers that provide asylum seekers with a place to stay, and, through Project Open Arms, the city has enrolled more than 13,000 students in temporary housing since last summer.