Why Is Adams Choosing Migrants Over NYPD?

New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently revealed the city’s updated 2024 financial plan, which includes a series of budget cuts as the city grapples with the challenges posed by a significant influx of migrants.

The financial plan outlines a reduction in the workforce of the New York Police Department (NYPD), aiming to bring the number of officers down to just 29,000 by the end of fiscal year 2025. This would mark the lowest staffing level since the mid-1990s. The plan also indicates the cancellation of the next five police academy classes, a move that will strain the already stretched department, especially as approximately 4,500 officers are expected to leave their positions within the next 18 months.

Critics have expressed frustration with these cuts, with Council Republican Minority Leader Joe Borelli denouncing the move as fulfilling the wishes of the “defund the police” movement. Borelli pointed out the irony that budget cuts to the police force are being made to fund services for migrants.

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) is also facing budget reductions, particularly impacting members on “long-term light duties” – those who have been injured on the job or are out sick. Under the plan, these individuals are forced into early retirement or termination. Andrew Ansbro, President of the FDNY’s union, criticized these budget cuts, arguing that a different approach should have been taken to protect essential life-saving agencies like the FDNY and NYPD.

In addition to these austerity measures, the city is set to close public libraries on weekends and cut nearly $550 million from its Education Department. This follows previous cuts that impacted services for senior citizens, prisoners, and childcare for three-year-olds. The removal of sidewalk trash cans has raised concerns about worsening sanitation issues in the city.

Mayor Adams is also reportedly working on extending the city’s contract with local hotels to house asylum seekers for up to three more years, at a significantly increased cost of $1.365 billion, nearly five times the original deal. This is in addition to the expenses incurred by city facilities and other rented sites housing homeless migrants.

These decisions have drawn criticism from experts who question the need for such extensions and the lack of competitive bids to lower costs. Some argue that the extensions benefit a select few at the expense of taxpayers.

Democratic Queens Councilman Robert Holden described the migrant crisis as a financial “boondoggle” and called for a reevaluation of the city’s approach. He emphasized that “Right to Shelter” shouldn’t be interpreted as a global entitlement, referencing NYC’s law guaranteeing shelter to the homeless, including asylum seekers.

Mayor Adams has appealed to New York’s wealthiest residents, urging them to support organizations and advocate for federal support. He stressed the city’s importance as an economic hub and called for a collective effort to address the challenges posed by the migrant crisis.

New York City has seen over 130,000 migrants arrive since last year as a result of the ongoing crisis at the southern border. While this number is relatively small compared to the broader national context, Mayor Adams has voiced concerns that the crisis could have a detrimental impact on the city.