Eric Adams misses his Rudy Giuliani moment on the border crisis

Remember when all the wise men deemed New York City ungovernable – and Mayor Rudy Giuliani showed up to prove them wrong?

Mayor Eric Adams is eyeing a potential Rudy Giuliani moment — a national leadership role in the crisis of America’s collapsing borders — and all he does is talk.

He tells this newspaper that the moment does not require a president with a backbone. No, a national “decompression strategy” will do, says Adams – and let it go. Everyone knows what a “decompression strategy” is.

Well, here’s a rough translation: it’s a mayoral surrender – an admission that the chief executive of America’s premier metropolis is taking a pass on an issue of critical importance to his constituents and his country.

In other words, it is an admission that he lacks both the imagination and the courage to blame the wave of migrants that is surging over congested American cities precisely where it belongs: on Joe Biden’s White House.

There, and on toxic notions that borders themselves are illegitimate, that national sovereignty is a racist construct, and that – in practice – the only reason America struggles to absorb legions of destitute illegal arrivals is that she refuses to try.

Adams recently requested $500 million in federal aid to help with the influx of immigrants.
Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

These believers believe that the overworked mayors and governors of the border states, usually but not exclusively Republicans, are the real problem: imposing illegals on the mayors of the big cities of the North, who are generally Democrats and always victimized.

Which, of course, is kind of true. They are victims of federal policies that have led to some 2 million migrants crossing US borders during this buildup – with many, many more on the way.

How many? Adams estimates that perhaps 75,000 will eventually land in New York City – a total of more than 40% more than the city’s entire shelter population last summer. And, again, with more in the pipeline.

It could be high. But no matter how many people show up, Adams should scream bloody murder. Yet, instead of demanding relief, he talks about Texas Governor Greg Abbott buying bus tickets for migrants; he says he is “frustrated” by the crisis — and prescribes his mysterious “decompression” solution.

He set out to build a tent city in the Bronx, the borough where so many of New York’s social problems seem to end. (Hey, how about Times Square? That would be fair, and it’s a gun-free zone – so everyone should be safe.)

A "tent city" is built in the Bronx to accommodate migrants arriving in New York.
A “tent city” is built in the Bronx to house migrants arriving in New York.

It may be Adams’ best bad choice, but his rationale – that migrants can spend a few days in tents while they wait for places in the city’s already cumbersome shelter system – seems unlikely to survive. a collision with the first northeast of winter.

And anyway, it’s a half measure. Where is the next tent city going? (How about Central Park, so the Upper West Side can get a personal, up-close look at the effects of failing social policy?)

No, the moment demands more of this mayor. It definitely has leverage.

Adams can credibly hold Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to account, the boy from Brooklyn who went to Washington and made it — seemingly to forget his roots. What does Chuck have to say about the wave of migrants that is sweeping through his town?

And really, how could the White House ignore Adams? “New York has a brand,” says Hizzoner, “and when people see it, it means something.”

Thus, the man has standing to act. Whether it’s believable and for how long depends on what happens next.

Once upon a time there was a film about the Gotham brand. It was “Escape from New York,” an ’80s dystopian fantasy that resonated because the city at the time was indeed filthy, crime-ridden, seemingly out of control – and probably doomed, as conventional wisdom would have it.

Rudy Giulani
Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York from 1994 to 2001.
Sarah Silbiger/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Then came Giuliani, who defied convention. Largely by force of will, he rallied the city’s formidable institutional resources – commerce, media and, reluctantly, even cultural institutions – to forge a renaissance that persisted well into the de Blasio administration. .

Time hasn’t been kind to the US mayor — he can blame himself — but when it counted, Rudy was more doer than talker, and it worked. He counted.

Adams has been a chatterbox his entire career: a gadfly cop, backbench state legislator and New York borough president, a tailor-made job for chatterboxes.

Now the moment calls for an actor. Will he be able to grasp it? Will it matter? Or will he, well, just decompress?


New York Post

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