Eric Adams Thinks Migrants Can Solve NYC's Lifeguard Shortage Because 'They're Excellent Swimmers'

Adams made the tone deaf comment during a City Hall briefing on Tuesday.

Person seated wearing a suit and tie with hands clasped, looking attentive
Heidi Gutman / ABC
Person seated wearing a suit and tie with hands clasped, looking attentive

What is Mayor Eric Adams' brilliant solution to the lifeguard shortage in New York City? Migrant workers.

The NYC Mayor shared his wild suggestion just one week before Memorial Day, after being asked about lifeguard staffing during a City Hall event on Tuesday (May 14).

According to the New York Post, Mayor Adams opined that lifeguard shortages wouldn't be an issue if migrants had their work visas expedited, ensuring easily filled positions.

"How do we have a large body of people that are in our city, our 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. "That just doesn’t make sense."

More than 180,000 migrants have arrived in NYC since April 2022, per NYCLU, many of whom, especially those who are undocumented, are in need of work visas and employment opportunities to support themselves and their families. Adams' proposal comes off not only as offensive to migrants who have faced unimaginable conditions to arrive to NYC, but wholly insufficient in addressing both the needs of the city's migrant community and the lifeguard shortage.

"We have all these eligible people waiting to work, with the skills we need to do the jobs, but we are unable to allow them to work because bureaucracy is in the way," Adams added.

Unshockingly for many NYC residents, the "swimmers" comment doesn't even crack the Top 5 of the most wild things that Mayor Adams has said regarding the Empire State. Last December, Adams said on local station PIX11 that because of incidents like 9/11 and New York City being "very complicated," that "it's the greatest city on the globe."

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