Policy

On migrants, Miami's Francis Suarez, other mayors call on President Biden for help

Democratic and Republican mayors want comprehensive reform: Suarez says the feds need to figure out how to 'reduce immigration pressures to the United States.'

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors 91st Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., Jan. 18, 2023.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors 91st Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., Jan. 18, 2023. Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C. — New York City Mayor Eric Adams emerged from a Wednesday meeting with other mayors around the country, saying he was grateful for the $800 million included in the $1.7 trillion federal spending bill for cities like his dealing with an influx of migrants.

“It’s a start,” he said in an interview. Earlier in the week, Adams had said at a press conference in El Paso, Texas, that the busloads of migrants sent to New York have exacerbated the city’s housing crisis and cost $2 billion.

Adams is working with mayors gathered in Washington, D.C., on a plan to push the Biden administration to further help cities like his deal with the nation’s refugee crisis. 

“That’s why we’re here,” he said after leaving a closed-door meeting at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ winter meeting. “We want to coordinate with all of our mayors. We all want to say, ‘Hey, as Democrats, we want to help people but we want to do it in a well-organized way in a perfect system.’ ”

While the details are still being worked out, Adams and his fellow mayors are looking for more than just federal aid.

“No. 1, how do we make sure we treat asylum seekers in a humane way?” he asked.

Republican Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, made comments similar to Adams at a press conference earlier in the day. He remarked that mayors had raised the issue with Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a private meeting.

“A lot of us expressed our concerns about the migration crisis that is affecting a tremendous amount of American cities, like Miami,” he said.

The mayors have been very “vocal” to the administration “to not just deal with the crisis, but solve the crisis, which I think are two different things,” Suarez said.

“This is something that requires not only resources to help cities deal with the influx, but also a strategy with figuring out how do we create more prosperity in our hemisphere so that it reduces immigration pressures to the United States.”

According to Suarez, Blinken agreed, saying the nation needs to increase manufacturing in the nation.

In a further sign that mayors are on the same page, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria told reporters at a press conference, “What we truly need beyond the dollars from the federal government is comprehensive immigration reform. What we have is a situation of an antiquated system that is buckling under the changes in migration.”

Kery Murakami is a senior reporter for Route Fifty, where a version of this story was first published. 

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