Adams creates new migrant agency, reveals relocation talks

Mayor Adams announced the creation of a new government agency Tuesday to deal with the Big Apple’s $4.2 billion migrant crisis -— and said he was in talks with other mayors across the US to take migrants off his hands.

Adams said the Office of Asylum Seeker Operations would open a new, 24-7 processing center for arriving migrants and move those services out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.

Adams said the new location would be “centralized” but didn’t say where or when it would open.

Also unclear was who will run the new agency and the cost of its annual budget.

Workers will focus on helping adult migrants file the paperwork needed to get federal work permits, in addition to providing them and their families with “food and a safe place to sleep,” Adams said.

“Our goal is to help them to become self-sufficient as soon as possible. That is the No. 1 goal,” he said during a news conference at City Hall.

Adams said that “no matter where I go, I’m hearing the same thing from the asylum seekers: ‘We don’t want to be a burden. We want to work. We want to be part of all this, what we heard about being in this country.”

Hizzoner also said he was going to “move towards long-term housing and resettlement, including resettlement to pre-vetted cities and municipalities that welcome asylum seekers.”

“There are many cities within the state and across the country that are saying they want to help. We want to create the pathway to do that,” he said.

But the mayor preemptively told reporters not to ask for details, saying, “I don’t need you running to the cities and stopping us from getting asylum seekers there.”

As of Monday. the city’s migrant population included more than 50,000 who’d been processed by officials since the spring.

Mayor Eric Adams announced a new Office of Asylum Seeker Operations.≈
Mayor Eric Adams announced a new Office of Asylum Seeker Operations.
Paul Martinka
Adams said the new location would be "centralized" but did not elaborate on where.
Adams said the new location would be “centralized” but did not elaborate on where.
Paul Martinka


Commissioner of the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Manuel Castro.
Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Manuel Castro.
Paul Martinka


Of that number, more than 31,000 were living in 101 emergency shelters, with the total daily cost of housing, food and other services pegged at $4.6 million.

City Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) said he believed Adams’ plan “stems from reality setting in that we can’t be the world’s municipal refugee camp.”

“The quicker we can process people out of the system, the better off New York taxpayers will be. $4.6 million a day is more than the Department of Sanitation spends,” he said.

The migrant processing center in Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The Office of Asylum Seeker Operations will move the city’s temporary migrant-processing center out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.

At one point during his speech, the mayor held up a glossy, magazine-style report titled “The Road Forward: A Blueprint to Address New York City’s Response to the Asylum Seeker Crisis.”

The 25-page pamphlet detailed plans to provide migrants with English-language classes and federal workplace safety instruction, as well as training for jobs in healthcare, food service and other “in-demand industries.”

Migrants would also be taught to avoid getting scammed by shady employers who violate labor laws by paying less than the minimum wage and stealing tips.

And despite the mayor’s stated desire to keep migrants’ potential destinations outside the city under wraps, the report outlined a “workforce training pilot” program in upstate Sullivan County.

Mayor Eric Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams says he’s in talks to relocate migrants to other “cities within the state and across the country.”
Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

The city, “in partnership with The Center for Discovery and SUNY Sullivan, will offer asylum seekers 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,” it said,

“Asylum seekers will also receive workforce training through The Center for Discovery in health care, human services, hospitality, culinary, and agricultural sectors,” it added.

“One of the program’s goals is to develop a blueprint so that others around the state can replicate the model.”

In addition, it said that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed $227 billion state budget for fiscal 2024 “includes $25 million to assist in the resettlement of certain families” within the state, including up to one year of free housing and other services.

“The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) will administer and oversee the program, which will include contracts with nonprofit organizations who have proven experience in successfully resettling refugee populations,” it said.

City Hall also acknowledged an error that mistakenly put the estimated total cost of the migrant crisis at $5.6 billion through the middle of next year, 50% more than officially projected.