NYC Mayor Eric Adams Thinks Migrants Can Fill The City's Lifeguard Shortage

Adams argued that migrants to the U.S. are "excellent swimmers," which some people interpreted as a reference to migrant crossings at the Rio Grande.
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New York Mayor Eric Adams offered a proposal for dealing with both the city’s growing migrant population and its lifeguard shortage ― but frankly, the idea sounds all wet.

On Tuesday, Adams suggested hiring migrants to the United States to be lifeguards, because supposedly they’re “excellent swimmers,” according to the New York Post.

“How do we have a large body of people that are in our city and country that are excellent swimmers, and at the same time we need lifeguards ― and the only obstacle is that we won’t give them the right to work to become a lifeguard?” Adams said in his press conference. “That just doesn’t make sense.”

Some people on social media interpreted Adams’ comments as him implying that migrants to the U.S. are strong swimmers because they’ve swum across the Rio Grande to reach the country’s shores. (The Post also mentioned the Rio Grande in its coverage of Adams’ remarks.)

New York City’s beaches are set to open for Memorial Day weekend, and officials want to avoid a shortage like last summer’s, when the season started with 500 lifeguard vacancies, according to the Daily Mail.

Current applicants could get $22 an hour and a $1,000 bonus if they work through the peak season.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum have been bused from Texas to cities like Chicago, New York and Denver since 2022, creating challenges for public employees trying to supply shelter, food and medical care to those who need it.

Absorbing the influx of people could be easier, Adams said, if there were fewer barriers for skilled migrants seeking work permits.

“If we had a plan that said, ‘You have a shortage of food service workers, and those who fit the criteria, we’re going to expedite you. If you have the experience that you are a nurse, which we have a nursing shortage, and we would expedite you,’” he said. “And that’s the same with lifeguards.”

Adams’ office replied to HuffPost’s request for comment by sending a statement late Tuesday.

“With more than 197,000 migrants who have come through our care since the spring of 2022, Mayor Adams has been clear that there is nothing more un-American than not allowing someone to work.

“The mayor has repeatedly pointed out that there are people in our shelter system right now who are qualified for vacant city jobs — in industries such as food service, construction, manufacturing, lifeguarding, and more — and yet, we cannot hire them because the federal government has not issued them work authorization and the right to work.

“Anyone who is trying to make more out of the mayor continuing to make that point today is missing the forest for the trees.”

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