- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The immigration crisis that’s being bused into big cities was on the agenda when the U.S. Conference of Mayors kicked off its winter meeting Tuesday in Washington, but the mayors’ big discussion about border jumpers will happen in private.

The agenda includes a members-only forum on Wednesday titled “Responding to the influx of Migrants to our Cities,” which is hosted by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, a Democrat. The agenda spells out that the session is “open to mayors and mayor’s staff only.”

The conference organizers describe the closed-door event this way:

“Record numbers of people are crossing the Southern border, requesting asylum, and needing assistance in cities at or near the border and throughout the country. The session will focus on Administration policies regarding the migration of asylum seekers and others to the United States, efforts underway to make it more orderly and improve communications, and the information and funding needed to assure that cities and non-governmental organizations within them can meet their needs without reducing services to their existing population.”

New York Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, said he and other mayors who are contending with the overflow of migrants into their cities will unify on the issue.

“What we want to do is … really coordinate all of our mayors for us to come together with a unified voice. This crisis had mayors pitted against each other, and that can’t happen. No municipality should go through this,” Mr. Adams told reporters in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday.

Mr. Adams was meeting with El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, a Democrat, to discuss the migrant crisis. That crisis visibly spread from the border to cities when GOP governors in Texas and Arizona started busing the migrants to Chicago, New York and Washington.

The mayors will cap off their meeting on Friday with President Biden welcoming them to the White House and delivering remarks celebrating his achievements over the past 18 months, according to the White House.

Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez currently serves as president of the conference, which is a nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are currently more than 1,400 such cities in the nation, and each city is represented in the conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

The four-day meeting in Washington this week will include speakers from the Biden administration such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

Other forums during the week focus on mental health, affordable housing, the Influx of migrants, gun crimes, homelessness, LGBTQ policies, the opioid/fentanyl crisis and climate change policies.

Mayors also plan to discuss congressional legislative topics, including the implementation of legislation such as the CHIPS and Science Act intended to spur microprocessor chip production in the U.S., the tax-and-climate law known as the Inflation Reduction Act, new gun-control laws in the SAFER Communities Act and the $1.9 trillion spending package.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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