Mail this story to a friend.          
RELEASE: Transcript of Adams on WPIX on Sunday, September 10, 2023 talking about southern border migrants crisis and impending 'financial tsunami.'

NEW YORK, NY 10007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 10, 2023, 7:30 AM
CONTACT:, (212) 788-2958


Dan Mannarino: This morning on PIX on Politics, New York City Mayor Eric Adams goes on the record.

[Play video.]

Mayor Eric Adams: This issue will destroy New York City.

[Stop video.]

Mannarino: Mayor not mincing words on the dire state of the migrant crisis, New Yorkers wondering what is the end game here, from housing...

[Play video.]

Speaker: The only plan that New York City has is to shelter them wherever they can and spending a massive amount of taxpayer money.

[Stop video.]

Mannarino: To schools...

[Play video.]

Speaker: How do we tell them everything's going to be okay?

Chancellor Banks: It has really been an open arms situation.

[Stop video.]

Mannarino: Local leaders [left] asking, where is the help from the federal government, as the city bears the brunt of the burden.

Hear directly from Mayor Adams on what needs to be done to get this issue under control.

We'll also dive into the other big issues like safety, education, and concerns over illegal smoke shops.

Council Member Gale Brewer: I have had it literally about the fact that these illegal shops operate near schools. It is illegal [inaudible]. How in the world did they end up near schools. And some of them open at 7 a.m.

Mannarino: We're getting to it all when PIX on Politics starts right now.

Mannarino: Good morning, everybody, and welcome to PIX on Politics, I'm Dan Mannarino. And this morning, I am joined by New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Well, Mr. Mayor, thank you for being here. Welcome back to PIX on Politics. There's a lot to get into.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Mannarino: So, let's jump right in. I want to begin with your statements last week. They're getting a lot of attention, as I'm sure you're well aware. We just heard in the show open that the migrant crisis could destroy New York City. When you say the word "destroy," what exactly are you referencing here? Help clarify those remarks.

Mayor Adams: Yes, and I have to be honest with New Yorkers with what we're about to experience, a financial [inaudible] tsunami that I don't think this city has ever experienced.

Number one, the economic challenges, $12 billion. Every service in the city is going to be impacted, from child service to our seniors to our housing plan, everything will be impacted. And we have a fiscal cliff that’s about to hit us from the federal government.

Second, the migrants. This is wrong for the migrants. We're going to have to eventually move women and children into congregant settings. Some migrants may have to move out into these outside tents. This is wrong, what we're doing to them, not allowing them to work and provide for themselves.

Public safety, you saw what happened in the 83 Precinct yesterday with the big scuffle that happened there. Every area of our city is going to be impacted, and it could undermine everything we have done.

Mannarino: I think when people heard that word "destroy" they were quick to pounce on those remarks; and in fact, I want to just get a statement from the Legal Aid Society. They came out shortly after your remarks. Take a look right here. They called them reckless and unproductive fear mongering. The mayor's dystopian comments dehumanize and villainize people who fled unimaginable situations from home countries for an opportunity to provide for their families. I want to give you a chance to respond to that.

Mayor Adams: Well, you know, listen, they are going to advocate, they're going to use terminologies to define the reality that I'm facing. This is not an academic exercise. This is not a utopia. New York City cannot manage 10,000 people a month with no end in sight. That can't happen, and that is going to undermine this entire city.

Mannarino: So, let's talk about them here and the impact on everyday New Yorkers, right? The $12 billion price tag has been thrown around, over the next couple of years, and you're talking about every single department being cut. That is a broad statement. Can you zero in on, maybe something a little more direct, at a service that may be cut and how soon people might see it.

Mayor Adams: Well, we're going to give a financial overview. I sat down I was briefed by Jacques Jiha, my budget director, and we're going to look through to the entire city each agency, what we're asking, every agency is going to have to do a five percent PEG, Program to Eliminate the Gap, finding efficiency. We did two rounds of that already. But we're going to show New Yorkers exactly what we're faced with, because transparency is crucial here. I have to be honest to New Yorkers what we are up against.

Mannarino: Are you talking about emergency personnel as well?

Mayor Adams: Everything is on the table now. You know, think of this for a moment. We're talking $12 billion. $12 billion of running our city: sanitation, police, education, libraries, everything that we have to run the city. There's a minimum amount of money that comes in that we have to address this crisis as a national crisis, and we've been ignored.

Mannarino: What's the timeline for cuts?

Mayor Adams: This is going to be in the next round of budget, we have to put out a budget modification in November, and we have to account for the money that's going to be needed looking through two years out, we have to announce our budgets every two years out.

Mannarino: So, we've already heard the term we're off the cliff, the shelters are at capacity. You're talking about tents, right? There's a lot of chatter about the term right to shelter and sanctuary city, right? And in fact, your Deputy Mayor Isom came out last week and was talking about how cities like Chicago and Philadelphia were saying after day 30, go to New York. So, what do you think, then, of the right to shelter? Do you want to drop that status?

Mayor Adams: We have corp council, Sylvia Hinds-Radix, she's in court now to look at [inaudible] conversation around how do we manage in this crisis, and I'm going to leave it up to her as the corp counsel to argue these cases in court. This is going to be her determination what's the best route.

Mannarino: Well, what do you think? As the mayor, what do you think of the right to shelter? Should it exist? We’re the only city in America.

Mayor Adams: No, so it's more than that, Dan. Think of this for a moment. We're saying that you can come from anywhere on the globe, come to New York City and we are to food, house, clothe you for as long as you want, forever. That's not realistic. It's not sustainable. And that is what we're seeing now. That needs to be reexamined.

Mannarino: And so in the court system, besides the right to shelter, is there a point where you say, we're done, we can't take anymore. The door is closed.

Mayor Adams: We'd love to, but it's against the law for me to do that. I don't have the legal authority to tell people they can leave, only the federal government can do that. It's against the law to tell buses that you can't come in. Many New Yorkers don't realize that the laws prevent to say we don't have any more room, you can't come to the city. I would love to do that, because that's the humane thing to do, because it's wrong to have people come to the city and treat them in a manner in which we're doing, and it's wrong for New Yorkers to have to experience this.

Mannarino: Should those laws be changed?

Mayor Adams: Yes! Yes. We need to reexamine the founding fathers of the whole concept of how you house people, they did not have in mind that 110,000 people were going to come to the city, 10,000 a month, 2,900 a week. This is not sustainable. I've said this for some time now. It's not sustainable. I've also said this is going to come to neighborhoods near you. We're now at that moment.

Mannarino: And so there's [inaudible] of the federal aid, we know that that has not arrived. You and the governor have been calling on the federal government to send money this way. But do you almost blame the president for the open border policy? Do you think that should change?

Mayor Adams: Well, we need to have a policy, I believe, of staying in Mexico or any of the bordering localities until you are allowed entry. So, I believe stay in place is the way you need to be thinking, until you are allowed in. But the problem is also not only with what the federal government could do, the state needs to play their role, also. The decompression strategy should go throughout the state. New York City is the economic engine of the state. This should not be on New York City residents only.

Mannarino: So, and you've obviously spoken to the governor about that.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Mannarino: And has it fractured the relationship between the two of you?

Mayor Adams: No… We, you know, and I think the clarity must be, the governor and I have worked on some amazing things together.

Mannarino: Right, but you disagree on this.

Mayor Adams: On this, right. I believe this should be managed by the state, the decompression strategy should be over state and over the country. That is where I believe we disagree. And we will find ways. She secured $1 billion for us in the last budget. We're looking to get another billion again. But we're talking about a $12 billion deficit...

Mannarino: Right.

Mayor Adams: That’s falling on the backs of New Yorkers.

Mannarino: When you talk about the politics of it all, right, your words have been used on the Republican side of things, we're in an election cycle, right? Speaker Kevin McCarthy sounding off in statements on social media saying, I agree with the mayor. You have other Republicans coming out and using your words from the other day as almost their campaign slogans now. What do you think of that?

Mayor Adams: I have one role here: protect the people of this city. I was hired to be the mayor, I was elected to be the mayor of the City of New York. My city has heard me. This can undermine this entire city, my children, my families, the long‑term impact to migrants who are not getting the proper treatment they deserve, these cuts in services to the children of the city, my elders and seniors, my housing.

And so if people want to politicize this, it was the Trump Republicans that prevented real immigration law. They want to be accurate, they have a great deal of blame to this. But I'm not going to lie to the people of this city on the danger we're in right now.

Mannarino: And last before squeezing in a commercial break. Do you think this is going to hurt Democrats' chances if there's not a solution when it comes to the House races.

Mayor Adams: They have their consulting and advising, so I think that it's imperative that we look at this and show that we can govern and lead during this difficult time. And right now, New York City is carrying the weight of a national problem with little or no help.

Mannarino: All right. Mayor Adams, not going anywhere, there's a lot more to talk about in terms of education and safety in this city. More with Mayor Eric Adams after the break. You're watching PIX on Politics.

[Commercial break.]

Mannarino: Welcome back, everybody, to PIX on Politics. Continuing our conversation now with Mayor Eric Adams. And I want to pick up with the topic of schools, Mr. Mayor. It was a big week last week for the first day back to school. One million students. On top of that, you add the asylum and migrant students. How many were there that enrolled?

Mayor Adams: We have about 20,000 children in temporary housing, it's difficult to distinguish which ones are migrants or not. But we knew we have a substantial number that came in. It was seamless. Hats off to the chancellor and his team. You know, no matter what's going on in the city, you know, the trains have to run on time, our children have to be educated and we have to make sure the streets and city is safe.

Mannarino: Okay. So, the first day went off without a hitch. You averted a school bus strike. But as of this taping, there is still this looming threat of a school bus strike that could go into Monday. If there is one, I know there's a contingency plan, but how long is the plan of prepaid MetroCards and Uber rides going to last?

Mayor Adams: Well, we have about 80,000 children that have actually, that are utilizing buses. So, you know, I think we need to understand it's not the entire school population. Many of those children are children with special needs, so it's so important that we get this right. The chancellor, he has placed a great plan in place as a plan B to make sure if there is a strike. I sat down with the operators and union, ATU, to see how do I infuse myself into this and assist as much as possible.

Mannarino: You think there's going to be one?

Mayor Adams: It's real unsure right now. I was really encouraged by the comments that were made by the union, that they want to continue to be at the table, they want to continue to push forward. I'm going to reach out to them, to the operators, the owners of the bus companies and say, listen, we need to land this plane. We can't have a strike while children are impacted.

Mannarino: And talking about the safety around schools, there's been a lot of talk about these illegal smoke shops popping up. There's hundreds of them in almost every single borough, some of the right near schools. We heard from Council Member Gale Brewer about the concern about these near schools. What's the solution? Shutting them down? How do you go about doing that?

Mayor Adams: And I'm with Councilwoman Brewer. She's right. And we attempted last legislative session in Albany, said give us the authority to go in and police. I could close down these shops in three months with the sheriffs and the Police Department, we will execute a plan. We don't have that actual authority to do so. It is being policed and managed by the state. I think that's a big mistake. We should be able to manage that, because we will close down these illegal [inaudible].

Mannarino: Have you asked for that?

Mayor Adams: Yes, we have.

Mannarino: And the answer?

Mayor Adams: We thought we were going to get last legislative session, we did not get it. We're going to return there, and we're going to ask for folks like Councilwoman Brewer to join us. And we think all of us should be part of closing down these illegal shops.

Mannarino: And mayor, I want to talk to you, we covered a lot of ground in terms of topics, right? And the migrant crisis, obviously, top of mind for so many, but for you, if the migrant crisis was not happening, what is the number one issue that Eric Adams is tackling?

Mayor Adams: Well...

Mannarino: I know you're...I know you're doing it at the same time, but...

Mayor Adams: Yes, and we are, that's so important… But look at the city. Look at what we have accomplished in 20 months of, you know, 99 percent of our jobs have returned, decrease in homicides, decrease in shootings, five of the seven major categories are down. Tourism is back. We're looking to get 65 million tourists that have returned. People back on the subway system. I remember some of the early interviews were no one wanted to get on the train, we're capping now at four million riders, probably 3.6, 3.8 daily.

The city is humming, and the city has returned in a very real way. But we have to focus on how do we continue to move in the right direction. You know, we're going to containerize all of our garbage. The city will be the cleanest and the safest big city in America, and continue to do so.

And so in a big city like this, there's always issues, man, always. You know? But I think the number one foundational issue is what you mentioned of we have to manage this issue so it doesn't take away from all the progress that we made in 20 months.

Mannarino: Yes, because if you give, say, work authorization to the migrants, the city would go humming even more.

Mayor Adams: Without a doubt. When we look for jobs, employers are looking for employees. This is a perfect match to pursue the American dream. This is wrong for the people of the city, the migrants and everyone else who's coming to the city, no city should be going through this.

Mannarino: I don't mean to go back, but it just popped into my head. Do you believe they're working, just working illegally?

Mayor Adams: Yes, we have a substantial number of… We have 110,000 enter the system, we're now down to about 60,000 that are actually physically in our care. 40,000 are somewhere. You know, 40, 50,000 are somewhere. But when you have a black market like that, then you could exploit women, you could underpay individuals, you could create dangerous environments. That is what we're trying to prevent.

Mannarino: Okay, mayor, I always end on something light. So, the summer is ending, right?

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Mannarino: Fall is upon us. There's a lot of activities in the fall. I'm a pumpkin guy. What is Eric Adams doing in the fall?

Mayor Adams: Oh, this is the best, I love the fall. I love the turning of the leaves, the colors that you see. I love, you know, putting on a nice sweater, sitting down… You know? So, I'm looking forward to fall. It's one of my favorite times of the year.

Mannarino: Alright. Get a pumpkin smoothie, right? Mayor Adams, thanks to you, we've covered a lot of ground today. Appreciate your time. And we'll have you back on PIX on Politics very soon. Pix Panel coming up next, everybody. Stay with us.