Eric Adams Paints Himself into a Sanctuary Corner


August 19, 2022

By Brian Lonergan

Progressive mayors and governors have had a nice run for more than a decade while their opposition largely stood down. These politicians soaked up the praise from their base that came with declaring their fiefdoms “sanctuaries,” places that defy federal immigration laws and serve as a magnet for noncitizens here illegally. Those who disagreed with the policy were mostly shamed into silence, for fear of being called pejoratives like “nativist,” “xenophobe,” or the dreaded but increasingly tiresome “racist.”  

That time is now coming to an end, as the bills for years of reckless sanctuary policies are coming due and resistance to sanctuary policies no longer amounts to mere words, but increasingly we see action.

A current representation of this movement can be seen in the strange case of New York City Mayor Eric Adams. A retired police captain in the city, Adams ran for mayor as the law-and-order antidote to the term-limited Bill de Blasio’s eight-year reign of destruction in Gotham. While Adams promised to be tougher on crime, he has continued de Blasio’s sanctuary policies and even supported noncitizens voting in city elections, a law that was recently struck down by a state court.

Adams’ juggling act as law-and-order retired police officer and sanctuary city mayor has been put to the test by Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s move to bus newly-arrived border-jumpers in his state to Manhattan. If Adams truly believed in sanctuary policies, he would have accepted the buses from Texas as a gift that will “make our community stronger,” per the anti-borders talking points. It should have been a one-day story.

Instead, it has been an ongoing saga because Adams can’t get his arguments straight and steps on a rake every time a microphone is pointed at him.

Will sanctuary city mayors like Eric Adams serve their benefactors or their constituents? It’s clear they can no longer do both.

“This is horrific when you think about what the governor is doing,” Adams said of Abbott. Those who cross our border illegally often disperse throughout the country. Why is it horrific for them to go to the largest city in the country, which also advertises itself as a sanctuary city?

If Abbott’s actions are “horrific,” why wasn’t it also horrific when the Biden Administration sent illegal aliens to upstate New York on commercial flights under cover of darkness without consulting local authorities? Adams had no criticisms of that even more brazen act by the White House. After all, that was some other mayor’s problem.

Adams has claimed that the Texas arrivals are putting a strain on New York’s social services. While it is hard to believe that a few hundred new people could break down a city of over 8 million people, it is true that the city has become a prime example of anti-borders policies run amok.

The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) just this week designated New York City as the “Most Dangerous Sanctuary Community” in America. It is a well-deserved title, as the de Blasio years resulted in an unacceptable number of rapes, robberies and murders committed by people who should have never been in the country. Despite Adams’ tough-on-crime rhetoric, there is no reason to believe the situation will improve on his watch while he maintains sanctuary policies to satisfy the far-left political machine that approved his rise to Gracie Mansion.

While Abbott’s delivery of illegal aliens to New York and Washington, D.C., has been an effective public demonstration of sanctuary city mayors’ duplicity, action is being taken on other fronts. IRLI has taken the lead in pursuing litigation against sanctuary policies. After IRLI submitted a brief in support of Texas’ Senate Bill 4, which requires all local police agencies in the state to honor immigration detainers and forbids cities, counties and local agencies from enacting or imposing the non-cooperation of sanctuary policies, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the statute as a major victory for the rule of law and a repudiation of local communities that promote sanctuary policies.

The message has been sent: sanctuary policies are destructive to communities and will be challenged whenever possible. The free reign of sanctuary mayors to virtue signal with reckless policies and face no consequences is over.  

Faced with this reality, Mayor Adams seems to have painted himself into a corner with his fealty to sanctuary policies. As his hometown New York Post recently asserted, “Simply put, he can’t be a law-and-order mayor and also run a sanctuary city.” Adams must choose who to serve, his political benefactors or his constituents. It is a choice more mayors like him must be forced to make.

Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.     

Also published at American Greatness, August 18, 2022.

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