NYC scrapes up $1.2M for migrant crisis as Biden turns deaf ear to $1B request
The City Council has scraped together $1.2 million in unused, pork-barrel funds for two dozen nonprofits providing migrant-related services — prompting critics to say it’s about time President Biden came through with some of the billions in expenses New York is racking up to cover a crisis he created.
The money is coming from the council’s $5 million “Language Access Initiative,” created last year to pay for translation assistance for migrants and their families, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) said Wednesday.
“With four months left in the fiscal year and projections that this funding will be unspent, the council saw an opportunity to shift this allocation to support nonprofit providers that are on the ground right now, supporting asylum seekers,” Speaker Adams said at a City Hall news conference.
The taxpayer funds will be nearly matched by another $1 million from the Robin Hood Foundation, New York Community Trust, Bronx Community Foundation, New York Women’s Foundation, and Brooklyn Community Foundation.
The combined $2.2 million amounts to a tiny fraction of the estimated cost of the city’s migrant crisis, which Mayor Eric Adams has warned could reach $4.2 billion by the middle of next year.
The city’s share was initially earmarked for the Division of Youth and Family Services, leading Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens) to complain that New Yorkers were getting shortchanged.
“We don’t have enough money for our kids and our youth funding because we’re always begging for more money for the migrants!” he fumed. “It’s no doubt that the feds should kick in for this money – not the taxpayers.”
Holden added: “I would deliver an invoice to the White House!”
Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) also said, “It is the end of a budget year and we are looking for change between the couch cushions to pay for already-approved city services.”
“It’s going to be quite the conundrum when we have to factor a multibillion-dollar, migrant-related expense with no end or relief in sight,” he added. “Where is our money tree? Where is Scrooge McDuck and his pile of gold? Where is Joe Biden?”
More than 48,300 migrants have been processed by the city since the spring, with 30,200-plus housed in 95 emergency shelters as of Sunday, according to the latest figures from City Hall.
“No other city is paying to place individuals in luxury hotel rooms, why is New York City?” said US Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn). “When my parents came to this country, no one paid for their housing, food and healthcare.”
Malliotakis also said that the city’s “right to shelter law was intended for homeless New Yorkers not citizens of other countries.”
“The mayor and city council should tell Biden to secure the border and require people to follow the appropriate process,” she added.
Adams has applied for $1 billion in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency but only $8 million has been authorized so far.
In a prepared statement, an Adams spokesperson said, “As the mayor said months ago, it will take all levels of government to solve this crisis, that we expect will cost the city $4.2 billion over this fiscal year and the next.”
“We appreciate the council’s announcement putting $1.2 million in funding toward this,” the spokesperson added.