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Surely These Competing, Petty Letters From Our Leaders Will Help the Migrants Arriving in New York

Hochul and Adams want the other to do their job, but don't want to do their own.

10:13 AM EDT on August 17, 2023

NYC Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul shaking hands.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul making a public safety- and state budget-related announcement on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. (Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office)

New York's governor and the mayor of New York City famously always get along, coming together during the toughest of times to competently manage challenging situations and operate as a united front. Haha, just kidding. Earlier this month, the City and state governments were called before the state Supreme Court, where a judge ordered them to comply with requirements to shelter asylum seekers. In two separate letters, the City and state governments this week blamed each other for the failures of New York's response to the arrival of thousands of migrants.. 

In the City's letter, sent on August 9, an attorney for the Adams administration asked the state to do more, calling for the establishment of state-run relief sites and assistance in securing more aid from the federal government. The state's letter rebukes these requests, describing their own support for the City thus far as "extraordinary," and calling out the City for its slow response to arrivals that have been building for over a year now. 

Here's the thing: Both salvos make some points. Both the City and the state are fucking up, being derelict in their respective duties, and human suffering is the result. As Hell Gate has reported, the City's response to the arrival of migrants has been shoddy and half-hearted, and at times seemingly deliberately cruel. Hochul has attempted to dodge any responsibility for handling the crisis at all, arguing in court that the "right to shelter" for migrants is solely the City's responsibility, and not the state's, an argument that led Attorney General Letitia James to recuse herself from representing the state. In an interview with the New York Times, Dave Giffen, the executive director of Coalition for the Homeless, called the state's response "disturbingly inadequate," saying, "From Day 1, [Hochul] should have been involved here on the front lines. This is a state issue."

But in media appearances after the Times's reporting on the letter, both Adams and Hochul could agree on one thing: This scuffle is actually the media's fault. “People want to see the governor and I fight. That’s not going to happen,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference yesterday. 

Governor Hochul in turn said in an interview with NY1 that “people enjoy, particularly the media, identifying any disagreements as a major fight."

How about you guys do your jobs, and we'll do ours?

Some links that are not fighting:

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