New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks to migrants and asylum seekers outside El Paso's Sacred Heart Church. Photo courtesy of New York City Mayor Press Secretary Fabien Levy/Twitter
Jan. 16 (UPI) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams traveled to El Paso, Texas, and visited the U.S.-Mexico border over the weekend, during a trip in which he criticized the federal government for its response to the migrant surge and announced plans to coordinate with the rest of the country's mayors to find a solution.
Adams traveled to Texas for the two-day trip that began Saturday and included stops at the southern border, the Office of New Americans' El Paso branch and the Sacred Heart Church, where he told migrants outside that he was going to fight "for their right to work and experience the American dream."
During a press conference Sunday with fellow Democrat El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, Adams told reporters that he is working to create a coalition of mayors across the country to find solutions to the migrant surge and secure federal support.
"I'm going to extend my hand to the mayors across to this country to say together we did not create this problem, but together we will find solutions, but those solutions must be implemented by the federal government," he said.
"I'm extremely disappointed of what we have done to the cities of this country and the impression that we're not seeing a level of urgency of getting this issue resolved."
Last week, more than 3,100 asylum seekers arrived in New York City, with a record 835 arriving in a single day, according to the city. Since last spring, more than 40,000 migrants have arrived in the city, causing local officials to open 74 emergency shelters and four humanitarian relief centers.
The arrivals come amid a surge at the U.S. southern border with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials tallying a record more than 2 million encounters during the 2022 fiscal year.
In October, Adams declared a state of emergency to coordinate efforts to construct relief efforts to deal with the influx of migrants, including the creation of the relief centers.
Adams told reporters Sunday that no city deserves the migrant situation they are facing.
"Our cities are being undermined. And we don't deserves this, migrants don't deserve this and the people who live in the cities don't deserve this," he said. "We expect more from our national leaders to address this issue in a real way."
Adams said he will be in Washington, D.C., this week to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors to speak with his counterparts about the issue.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, said she "wholeheartedly" agrees with Adams that this is a national problem the demands a national solution.
Like New York City, D.C. is one of several Democratic-led cities Texas Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott has bussed migrants to amid his open criticism of the the Biden administration and the Democratic Party's response to the surge.
Lightfoot said she also visited the border in October to understand the situation, and that they need to work with their federal parters to address the urgent needs of migrants in their cities.
"We continue to strain under the challenge of how to accommodate the rise in asylum-seekers and the escalating associated costs, which have been left primarily to cities to manage," she in a statement. "I once against urge all of us, especially federal leaders, to work together to address this national challenge."
The trip comes after President Joe Biden made his first visit of his administration to the border last week.
This story has been updated to correct the fact that Lori Lightfoot is mayor of Chicago.