New York City on Thursday announced it is reducing police numbers and cutting budgets in areas like education as it continues to struggle with the exorbitant costs related to the “sanctuary” city’s migrant crisis.
Mayor Eric Adams announced a $110.5 billion budget, saying cuts across all agencies were necessary with the city having spent $1.45 billion in fiscal 2023 on the migrant crisis and nearly $11 billion expected to be spent in 2024 and 2025.
“For months, we have warned New Yorkers about the challenging fiscal situation our city faces,” Adams said in a statement. “To balance the budget as the law requires, every city agency dug into their own budget to find savings, with minimal disruption to services.
“And while we pulled it off this time, make no mistake: Migrant costs are going up, tax revenue growth is slowing and COVID stimulus funding is drying up.”
The New York Police Department will freeze hiring to bring numbers below 30,000 by the end of fiscal year 2025 from over 33,000. There will also be deep cuts to education, including the universal pre-kindergarten program, and sanitation.
Adams appealed for more help from Washington.
“No city should be left to handle a national humanitarian crisis largely on its own, and without the significant and timely support we need from Washington, D.C., today’s budget will be only the beginning,” he said.
The announcement of a police hiring freeze drew condemnation from the police union, which said it could put public safety in jeopardy.
“This is truly a disaster for every New Yorker who cares about safe streets,” police union President Patrick Hendry said. “Cops are already stretched to our breaking point, and these cuts will return us to staffing levels we haven’t seen since the crime epidemic of the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“We cannot go back there. We need every level of government to work together to find a way to support police officers and protect New York City’s 30 years of public safety progress.”
The teachers union was similarly critical of the cuts to education.
“Rather than protect our public schools, City Hall proposes to cut overall funding, and on top of that, is making good on another threat by clawing back $109 million from city classrooms,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said.
“That means 653 schools — 43% of the school system — will be hit now with midyear budget cuts. Class sizes will rise, and school communities will be needlessly damaged.”
The cuts are the latest consequence of a migrant crisis the city has been tackling since last year. While it has been exacerbated by buses sent to the city by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who began bussing migrants to “sanctuary” cities as the migrant crisis escalated, that only makes up a fraction of the more than 110,000 migrants the city says have come in since last year. Abbott says Texas has sent just over 23,000 migrants to New York City.
New York City, along with other liberal jurisdictions, including Massachusetts and Chicago, have called for additional federal help with the numbers they are seeing. Adams has been particularly loud in his calls, warning that the crisis could “destroy” New York City.
However, the Biden administration has pointed to more than $770 million it has given out to support communities taking in migrants in the last year and recommendations its teams of experts have made.
It has also deployed personnel to help with authorizing work permits and to educate migrants on the immigration system, a DHS official said. The administration has also requested an additional $14 billion in emergency funding for border operations, which includes an additional $1.4 billion in grants to help local governments and nonprofits.
However, the crisis at the border continues. There were more than 249,000 migrant encounters in October, coming after a fiscal year with a record 2.4 million encounters at the border.
Republicans have blamed the crisis on the administration’s policies, while also criticizing sanctuary cities for encouraging migrants with their anti-enforcement stance. Republicans in the House have passed legislation that would increase border security and limit asylum, while the Biden administration says more funding and comprehensive immigration reform to fix a “broken” system is what is needed.
Fox News’ Courtney De George contributed to this report.