New York City's migrant crisis is creating a "black market of employment" and driving a spike in prostitution, Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday.
During a Tuesday sitdown with ABC7, Adams blamed "an increase in prostitution in our city" on the thousands of migrants the city is receiving each month. For Adams, however, the issue does not highlight the need for tougher border policies—instead, Adams argued, President Joe Biden should make it easier for migrants to work after entering the United States.
"We have thousands of jobs. … We needed lifeguards over the summer. We could have filled those jobs," Adams said. "So we're hoping that the federal government looks at what we're saying and makes it happen."
Adams's comments come as New York City grapples with an ongoing migrant crisis that has divided political leaders. Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul, a fellow New York Democrat, have accused each other of mishandling the crisis, which Adams said has seen 10,000 migrants enter the city each month. Adams, during a September town hall, said the crisis would "destroy the city" and impact public services for American citizens.
"The city we knew, we're about to lose," the mayor said.
While left-wing media personalities hammered Adams over those comments, calling the mayor "Black Trump," Adams during his 2021 campaign said New York City "will remain a sanctuary city" under his administration. Adams went on to launch a "We Love Immigrant New York" campaign, which saw the mayor herald migrants for contributing to the city's "cultural richness and economic prosperity."
Adams's push to allow illegal migrants to more quickly obtain work permits reflects his past embrace of "Immigrant New York." Experts say the policy would further incentivize migrants to enter the United States illegally in search of economic benefits.
"Countless illegal immigrants approaching our southern border admit to journalists and agents that they are coming to the U.S. to work," Heritage Foundation Border Security and Immigration Center director Lora Ries said. "They are economic migrants, not victims of persecution."
Adams's office did not return a request for comment.
Under federal law, illegal immigrants are required to wait 150 days before they can apply for a work permit, which then takes weeks to process. Hochul on Tuesday teased what she called an "unprecedented" move to issue expedited state work permits, an idea that Manhattan Institute senior fellow Nicole Gelinas argued would make the migrant crisis worse.
"It's a vast, retroactive, no-questions-asked amnesty for all unauthorized workers, of all skill and education levels, past, current and future," Gelinas said in a September op-ed. "Hochul and Adams should be clear: Fully open borders are exactly what they're asking for."