New York Mayor Eric Adams lashed out at Vice President Kamala Harris over the city’s $4.2 billion migrant crisis, marking the first time he has specifically placed fault on President Joe Biden’s controversial “border czar.”
“There needs to be an individual who is dedicated to the decompression strategy for the federal government. Someone should be at these entry points: El Paso, Brownsville, Texas, and others too, to organize a real decompression strategy across the entire country,” said Mayor Adams during a news conference at City Hall on Tuesday.
“One person should, we should be looking at — it is often stated that as the role of the V.P. has too much in her portfolio to be focused on just doing that decompression strategy. If not, the decompression strategy can’t be New York City,” said Adams.
Adams needed to clarify if he blamed the president for overloading VP Harris with more responsibilities than she could handle.
Press secretary for Adams, Fabien Levy, declined to comment on Wednesday and said: “We’ll let the major’s comments from yesterday speak for themselves.”
However, a source familiar with the mayor’s contacts with the White House describes Adams as ‘fed up’ with Harris.
“It’s been frustrating to not have a point person on a topic that’s senior enough to make adjustments in response to the crisis on the ground. The main contact has been [the Department of] Homeland Security,” a source told the New York Post.
Republicans in Congress grabbed on the probable division between some of the U.S.’s highest-profile Democrats.
“The Biden administration has created the worst border crisis in our nation’s history, and the buck stops there,” said GOP Representative Claudia Tenney. “The vice president has proven incompetent and lacks the leadership skills to combat this catastrophe that threatens the security of our taxpayers and legal residents daily.”
Rep. Tenney accused Adams of “pouring gasoline on the fire by accommodating illegal immigrants and begging for billions of dollars to feed, house, and care for them at the expense of the taxpayers of New York.”
U.S. Republican Representative Nick Langworthy said of Mayor Adams, “It’s Joe Biden’s open borders policy that he’s complaining about.”
“The fish rots from the head down, and this administration has proven they’ll never get serious about securing our border whether it’s hapless ‘border czar’ Kamala or anyone else,” continued Langworthy.
VP Harris named ‘border czar’ in 2021
President Biden appointed VP Harris in March of 2021 to head his administration’s efforts to curb the surge of migrants crossing the southern border; however, she rapidly came under fire from the GOP for not visiting the region immediately.
Harris finally made the trip three months later, following the announcement that former President Donald Trump would be touring the border with GOP Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Harris’ time as vice president has been marked by several top staffers’ mistakes and resignations. Politico quoted a source who said “people feel treated like s—t” by Harris and others telling the Washington Post that she uses “soul-destroying” management and is a “bully.”
Mayor Adams’ comments about Harris followed questioning about what he wanted from the Biden administration to help his city deal with its migrant crisis. He responded that the White House “must come up with how they’re going to distribute the $800 million” in migrant aid included in the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill signed in December by President Biden.
So far, the city has only been given less than $8 million of the $1 billion Adams has requested. “That’s taking far too long. We have to get that done. Let’s get the money flowing,” said Adams.
Adams recently announced the creation of a new Office of Asylum Seeker Operations. He said the agency would open a “24/7 Arrival Center” to replace the temporary Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
The mayor confirmed he is in talks with unnamed “cities within the state and across the country: to transplant some of the migrants in the city, NYC plans to offer migrants “the opportunity to relocate to Sullivan County, attend SUNY Sullivan Community College, live in college residence halls and earn a post-secondary credential or degree,” according to a magazine-style, glossy pamphlet released by City Hall.