New York City says it needs $3 billion from federal government in coming years to respond to asylum seekers

New York is hoping to receive $3 billion from the federal government through 2026 to handle the influx of migrants that city leaders have been grappling with for months, according to a new government report.

The city Comptroller’s Annual State of the City’s Economy and Finances report, released on Thursday, said the federal government has not confirmed it will support New York with the annual $1 billion, but that the money is needed for services to support arriving migrants and those already in shelters who need permanent housing.

The $1 billion includes $600 million for homeless and social services for asylum seekers and another $310 million for health and hospitals, “with the expectation that the Federal government will provide the resources to fully support these programs,” the report said.

Without federal and state financial support, the city may have to cut or curtail some of its programs, Mayor Eric Adams warned on Sunday.

“Our shelter system is full, and we are nearly out of money, staff, and space,” Adams said in a statement.

“These are not choices we want to make,” he said, “but they may become necessary, and I refuse to be forced to choose new arrivals over current New Yorkers. I’ll say it again — we need a plan, we need assistance, and we need it now.”

Since spring, thousands of asylum seekers have been bused to the city from the southern border, often at the direction of officials, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who have been critical of federal border policies. In October, Adams declared a state of emergency to what he called a “man-made humanitarian crisis,” saying the crowds seeking asylum were arriving faster than the city could accommodate them.

The city has seen an estimated influx of more than 30,000 asylum seekers since the last budget adoption, which has driven a “historic surge” in the number of people living in city shelters, according to the comptroller’s report.

More than 20,000 asylum seekers remained in the city’s care as of this week.

While the number of people arriving has slowed in recent weeks, the report added, that could soon change, as the country braces for an expected increase in migrant arrivals when a Trump-era border policy is lifted next week.

That policy, dubbed Title 42, is a public health rule invoked at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic that allowed officials to turn away migrants encountered at the southern border. A district court struck down the program last month and a federal appeals court on Friday rejected a bid by several Republican-led states to keep it in place.

The program is now set to end on Wednesday.

The comptroller’s report said that “much is unknown” about the kinds of trends the city will see in the next months and years after that program is lifted, Adams said Sunday that the city should expect more than 1,000 additional asylum seekers to arrive every week.

‘No one has helped us’

The mayor’s office told CNN that since the beginning of the crisis, the city has taken urgent action to assist the asylum seekers “largely on its own and at great cost.”

“We are actively working with the federal government to secure reimbursement for all of this spending,” Fabien Levy, the mayor’s press secretary, said in a statement. “We’ll continue to monitor the level of need and take the appropriate steps to meet our legal obligations while ensuring the city’s fiscal stability.”

Earlier this week, the mayor echoed that point and said he planned to ask for more money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the city prepares for a possible increase in arrivals.

“We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars. No one has helped us. No one. We have not gotten a dime from anyone. That has to stop. We need help,” Adams said. “This is an obligation on the national level. It is an obligation on the state level.”

Adams, who said he has spoken with the White House, said he was hopeful the federal government would come up with a strategy before Title 42 is lifted.

‘We should not be paying for this,” the mayor added. “We’re all in this together.”

Among the migrant needs that the city has grappled to respond to are issues of permanent housing, a high demand for legal services and requests for winter clothes as the winter months press on, one official briefed on the city’s response to the migrant arrivals said earlier this week.

There has been huge demand for legal services and there have also been requests for basic information and orientation about documents in the asylum process, the person said. City officials have also been getting calls from various schools asking for winter clothes for migrant families who are not used to colder weather, the person added.

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