▶ Watch Video: New York City Mayor Eric Adams talks influx of asylum seekers to New York City

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is urging the federal government to take swift action to address the unprecedented surge in the city’s migrant population, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to tackle the issue that is straining resources and causing asylum seekers to sleep on the streets. Local leaders are currently struggling to house more than 57,000 asylum seekers in the city’s care — with more arriving each week.

In midtown Manhattan, asylum seekers are sleeping on the sidewalks outside the Roosevelt Hotel.

In an interview with “CBS Mornings,” Adams said the urgency of providing support is a “national issue” that needs immediate action as the city grapples financial demands putting pressure on essential municipal services. Adams said the city is on pace to spend billions in migrant care this fiscal year. 

“We have created a funnel,” Adams said. “All the bordering states have now took the funnel right to New York City. New York City is the economic engine of this entire state and country. If you decimate this city, you’re going to decimate the foundation of what’s happening with Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston.”

The mayor’s office outlined specific requests for President Joe Biden’s administration aimed at effectively managing the crisis and preventing a potential expenditure of over $12 billion across three fiscal years. 

Among the requests: Expediting work authorizations for asylum seekers to facilitate quicker employment opportunities, declaring a state of emergency to address the crisis at the border, seeking increased federal reimbursement for costs incurred by the city and implementing a federal decompression strategy to ensure a more equitable distribution of arriving asylum seekers. 

While underscoring the immediate need for financial assistance, Adams also said that it is important that Congress addresses the root causes of the crisis, saying, “we have to ensure that we have real immigration reform, because it’s going to continue.”

In response to how the Biden administration has been handling the situation, Adams said blame could be attributed to multiple people. 

“Republicans have been blocking real immigration reform. We’re seeing that FEMA is using dollars on the southern border to allow people to bus people to New York City,” Adams said. 

Adams said the migrants and asylum seekers “don’t want anything from us. They want to work.”

The mayor also shed light on the impact the crisis has had on the existing homeless population and said the city is working to try to ensure there is housing for both the existing homeless and migrants. Adams said some office buildings were converted to housing, but “it costs money” to continue doing that.

“Everyday,” Adams said, “we are juggling where we are going to find another place so that human beings don’t sleep on the street.”