‘Moderate’ Democrats such as Eric Adams are not adequately addressing the migrant crisis

If — or, as it’s looking, when— Donald Trump retakes the presidency, supposedly moderate Democrats will blame the left for alienating swing voters.

But moderate Democrats are losing this election on the one issue that matters: the border.

The best example is Mayor Adams.

He’s a proud centrist: a law-and-order former cop.

When Adams won his primary three years ago, he declared himself “the future of the Democratic Party.”

But the left has had nothing to do with any choice Adams has made on the crisis facing New York City — the migrant influx.

Take Adams’ decisions, starting in summer 2022, to convert Midtown Manhattan into mass-scale migrant shelter.

He started with The Row hotel, a mid-luxury property near Times Square, turning its 1,331 rooms into migrant housing that August.

He continued with the vacant Candler office building in Times Square last March, housing 800 people.

And in May, on Midtown’s east side, he turned the Roosevelt Hotel’s 1,025 rooms into migrant sanctuary.

A big part of Adams’ 2021 election strategy was pledging to revitalize Midtown after COVID shutdowns and street disorder kept commuters working at home.

Instead, Adams turned premier properties on both sides of Midtown — east and west — into anchors of disorder and, as the Times Square migrant attack on NYPD officers last weekend demonstrated, flagrant violence.

No wonder commuters are still staying away nearly one-third of the time, compared with pre-COVID levels.

The chances were always slim that Adams could slot at least 3,200 new adults, plus their teenage children, into the middle of Manhattan without a concurrent decline in public safety.

First, to borrow from classic urbanist philosophy, nobody lives full-time in these areas of town: There are no Jane Jacobs-style “eyes and ears” on the streets whose functional behavior newcomers can emulate.

Thousands of newcomers were dumped into post-COVID Midtown, where they could grasp, immediately, that anything goes: casual theft, drug sales, illegal vending.

Despite hundreds of millions of dollars in private security spending, Adams did nothing, from Day 1, to indicate to migrants they would be held to a high standard.

So migrants have parked dozens of illegal mopeds outside both The Row and the Roosevelt for months. Outside The Row, well into the night, they blast music.

When police have tried, inconsistently, to enforce the law, migrants have learned there’s no penalty.

One of the alleged attackers in last week’s mob assault on the police had been arrested four times for theft; another had been arrested twice, for robbery and theft, including of nearby struggling retailers.

In every arrest, they went free on no bail.

And now adult male migrants see that you can assault a police officer and still go free, with six suspects, using false names, fleeing to California.

Sure, Adams can blame the left for much of this law-enforcement breakdown.

But he should blame himself for placing thousands of adult males in Midtown when he knew the city had no functional criminal-justice infrastructure to ensure public safety.

He can also blame himself for having promised benefits he can’t deliver.

There’s no excuse for attacking police.

But with Adams’ Promised Land having turned into a freezing-weather hunger games, as the mayor attempts to enforce arbitrary new limits on shelter, no wonder fights have broken out among desperate migrants waiting in line for a bed.

Lest you think things are about to get better: The Big Apple projects the number of migrants “in the city’s care” will reach 90,000 this summer, up from 70,000.

In the last couple weeks alone, City Hall has signed $137 million in new hotel contracts for migrant shelter.

Adams can’t reverse his mistakes, but he can stop making them.

He could finally argue in state court: New York’s supposed “right to shelter,” governed by a 40-year-old legal settlement, cannot apply, indefinitely, to the entire world, especially in an environment where the city is constrained from enforcing basic laws.

Where’s the governor, another supposedly moderate Democrat?

Kathy Hochul, too, has vacillated on the “right to shelter.”

Mostly she wants to give Adams more billions from state taxpayers so that he doesn’t send migrants outside Gotham to suburbs.

Joe Biden, the supposedly moderate president?

He opened the border, with no thought as to how municipalities would handle millions of newcomers with no means of supporting themselves.

With moderates like these, who needs the left?

Trump can win by running against the moderates’ suicide row of Adams, Hochul and Biden.

The path to a Democratic loss runs through a disintegrating Midtown.  

Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.

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