By Shlomie Katash
In response to the worsening migrant crisis, Mayor Eric Adams went on a four-day trip south of the border to deliver a message to potential asylum seekers: New York City is full. He concluded his tour on Oct. 7 in Colombia.
As the city has continued to buckle under the administrative and financial burdens coming from an influx of migrants, Adams believed that urgent action was necessary to mitigate the crisis.
“What tears my heart apart, what motivated me to come here is that when I look at the circumstances that are facing the migrant and asylum seekers who are in New York and everyday struggling New Yorkers, and it is not our desire to pit the groups against each other as we stabilize the situation,” said Adams, per CBS News.
First, he stopped in Puebla, Mexico to simultaneously celebrate immigrants and their contributions while also warning them against migrating.
“Our hearts are endless, but our resources are not,” Adams said during a speech in the city. “[Migrants] deserve a more dignified environment than we are able to give.”
He then moved onto Ecuador where he visited a migrant shelter, which he called “an example of upstream solutions” to the crisis in a tweet. By providing support, food, shelter, water, and other resources to families before they leave for the United States, these centers hope to allow people to stay in their home countries.
Adams concluded his trip in Colombia, spending time with officials in the region to devise plans to curb the increasing number of migrants.
“Our plan is to stop the tide and stop the flow of coming into the city,” Adams said, per Spectrum News NY1. “And we believe there’s ways to do it, particularly by partnering with Colombia.”
Additionally, he visited the Darien Gap, a dangerous jungle in Colombia that migrants must travel through to arrive in the U.S.
Adams celebrated his trip as a success, both in countering misinformation in the local press regarding the state of the capacities available to them in New York, and in broadening his perspective of the crisis and the potential solutions for it.
“I’m so glad I went, it’s one thing to read about these issues, see a video about it, but if you’re on the ground […] to see the flow of people coming through, speaking with asylum seekers and hearing their thoughts, I said it before, there’s no end in sight,” Adams said, per ABC News.
Despite his warnings, though, many migrants claim to be dissuaded and still set on traveling, according to The New York Times.
“How can you tell someone not to follow their American dream?” asked one migrant in Ecuador.
Some New Yorkers have criticized the mayor for attempting to do just that while also offering mixed messages.
“I don’t blame the mayor for trying to have it both ways,” wrote Ralph Ortega, the editor of City and State. “Unfortunately, offering, ‘Mi casa es su casa,’ is cruel when someone is trying to shut the door on that casa.”