With NYC facing migrant crisis, Democrat Mayor Adams travels to Italy to find answers

NYC has receive roughly 180, 000 migrants since April 2022 – many, if not most, sent there from border states overwhelmed by the influx at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Eric Adams, New York City Democratic mayoral candidate.

New York City Democrat Mayor Eric Adams is evidently looking to do as the Romans – having made a three-day trip recently to Italy to look for answers to some of his city's biggest problems including migration, infrastructure, graffiti and education.

Adams did not meet with Italy's border hawk Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, considering it would be an unusual departure from diplomatic norms for a head of government to formally receive a mayor, even if it’s the mayor of New York City.

But the fiery right-wing nationalist's policies were in evidence during Adams’ stay in and around the Italian capital. 

Migration is a pressing concern in the U.S. and in Italy, which has pushed the European Union to take more of a hardline stance on the matter.

Meloni campaigned on a promise of curbing migrant flows back in 2022 and has since backed controversial plans for a refugee processing facility outside Italy, in Albania. She’s helped fund efforts for North African countries to better patrol their coastlines and has lobbied for military involvement in migrant control efforts

Adams didn’t address those topics while in Italy, but he visited a refugee center outside Rome and praised its system for teaching new arrivals the Italian language and preparing them to find employment. 

The official reason for Adams’ visit was to attend the World Meeting on Human Fraternity at the Vatican. In that role, he met with Pope Francis and other church leaders. He also visited the Great Synagogue in Rome’s largest Jewish neighborhood as well as an Islamic culture center. 

“People of faith are needed as much as we need government,” Adams said. 

He also met with his Roman counterpart, center-left mayor Roberto Gualtieri, to discuss housing, infrastructure and graffiti.

The 63-year-old Adams inspected an under-construction stop part of Rome’s slow-moving metro expansion project, then joined Gualtieri in a project to remove graffiti from walls in the Italian capital’s popular Trastevere neighborhood.

Time will tell whether Adams implements anything he observed in Rome.

But he is certainly looking for solutions to the challenges of immigration in his city, considering NYC has receive roughly 180, 000 migrants since April 2022 – many, if not most, sent there from border states overwhelmed by the influx at the U.S.-Mexico border. An estimated 65,000 are now under the city's care. 

Adams mostly kept the press at an arm’s length while in Italy, though he did allow that for him, “the big takeaway is the similarities of these cities.”

The trip did afford him a few days’ break from the crises swirling around him at home. 

The mayor has had to deal with protests over the war between Israel and Hamas that started in New York and have since spread worldwide (even to Rome), as well as a federal investigation into his campaign’s alleged finance violations connected to Turkey.

That is in addition to the standard big-city problems related to crimebudget issues, and refugee-related problems – an area where Adams, similar to Italy’s Meloni, is pushing for more burden-sharing from other states to help offset costs. All this while his poll numbers sink to new lows in the lead-up to next year’s New York mayoral election.