A senior advisor to New York City Mayor Eric Adams called on President Joe Biden to “close the border” in a TV interview over the weekend.
In an interview on PIX 11, Adams’ advisor, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, defended the Democratic mayor’s push to change the Big Apple’s right-to-shelter policy amid a surge of tens of thousands of asylum-seekers but said the federal government must do its part to reduce the flow of immigration.
“The federal government needs to do its job,” she said. “We need the federal government, the Congress members, the Senate, and the president to do its job: Close the borders.
The comments prompted a clarification from the mayor’s spokesman, Fabien Levy, who said the administration welcomes migrants, but wants a “decompression strategy” at the U.S.-Mexico border to reduce the number of migrants entering the country.
“To be very clear, and as @NYCMayor has said over and over again, of course this nation should continue to welcome immigrants — both those seeking asylum and those who are not,” Levy posted on X.
“The US will always do its part to be a country that takes in those seeking refuge from war, discrimination, & strife, but as we’ve stated repeatedly, we need a real decompression strategy at the border,” he added.
Several liberal New York City Council members blasted her comments as “xenophobic” and labeled them “Republican talking points” that ignore New York City’s history of accepting asylum-seekers.
“New York has been a welcoming beacon to immigrants for centuries and will always be one, no matter what this administration says,” Brooklyn Council Member Shahana Hanif posted on social media.
New York City has had an influx of more than 118,000 asylum-seekers over the past year amid a surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border. New York City is caring for more than 61,000 migrants at more than 200 emergency shelters, costing the city more than $1.5 billion in the past year.
Lewis-Martin’s remarks were echoed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, who said in a Sunday interview that New York “welcomes” immigrants, but “there has to be some limits in place and Congress has to put more controls at the border.”
“We want them to have a limit on who can come across the border,” the Democrat told CBS’s “Face the Nation. “It is too open right now.”
Republicans seized on the statements from Democrats to highlight escalating concerns about border security they say are being ignored by Democrats and the Biden administration.
“I hope Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are listening because they are the only ones standing in the way of securing our border and ending this crisis,” New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis said in a statement on social media.