How NYC’s Mayor Fails Migrants | Crooked Media
Pod Save America Live NYC & Boston guest hosts just announced! Get Tickets Pod Save America Live NYC & Boston guest hosts just announced! Get Tickets
January 25, 2024
What A Day
How NYC’s Mayor Fails Migrants

In This Episode

  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivered his third State of the City address on Wednesday. Since just last spring, 170,000 migrants have arrived in New York City, tens of thousands of whom were sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. But in his speech, Mayor Adams fell short of providing any real plans to address the situation. We’re joined by Christine Quinn, former Speaker of the New York City Council and current head of shelter operator Win, to discuss what migrants need and what providers in the city are doing to meet the moment.
  • And in headlines: the United Auto Workers Union endorsed President Joe Biden, nine people were killed and more than 70 were injured after a UN shelter in Khan Younis was bombed, and Obamacare hit a record level of enrollment.


Show Notes:



Follow us on Instagram –




Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday, January 25th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What a Day. The pod that agrees that if you want to make your propaganda pop, use cats. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, we are head over heels for this story in Politico of how Ukrainian soldiers on the frontlines are using social media to show off the abandoned cats that they have found and now care for. We love it. Naturally, Russia’s now trying to do the same. We don’t love that as much. 


Juanita Tolliver: Don’t be a copycat. [laughter] [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, the autoworkers union endorsed President Biden, plus a record 21 million people signed up for Obamacare. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, we talk about the migrant crisis that continues to grow, with Republican governors sending those in need to other states. That’s because New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivered his third state of the city address yesterday. The city has been dealing with an influx of migrants in the past year. Since just last spring, 170,000 migrants arrived in New York City, tens of thousands of which have been sent to the city by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. About 70,000 migrants are still being housed by New York City. But in his speech yesterday, Mayor Adams fell short of providing any real plans to address the situation and instead kind of tooted his own horn, which was not warranted. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Never is. 


[clip of NYC Mayor Eric Adams] We have helped tens of thousands filed application to extend temporary protected status, seek asylum and obtain work authorizations. We are proud we have done our part, but we need others to do their part. 


Juanita Tolliver: Done your part, huh?


Priyanka Aribindi: [sigh] Yeah, well, that seems to just omit, I don’t know, the elephant in the room. The pictures that we see every single day. It’s ringing a little hollow. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. As we’ve covered on the show here, the city started to evict migrant families that hit the limit of 60 days in a shelter, a policy which Mayor Adams announced last October. And just last week, about three dozen migrants slept on snowy streets in Brooklyn in hopes of getting ID cards they thought would help them find work. So there is still a lot that needs to be done to help migrants and asylum seekers in New York City. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, so much to be done. It really is just heartbreaking to watch and hear these updates just daily. So hopefully he gets the idea soon. And I know there are a lot of people working to help the people in this situation, but–


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Mayor Adams, there is more to be done. 


Juanita Tolliver: I wanted to learn more about what migrants themselves need at this moment in time, and what providers in the city are doing to meet the moment. For that, I spoke with Christine Quinn, president and CEO of WIN, or Woman in Need, the largest provider of family shelter and supportive housing in New York City. She’s also the former speaker of the New York City Council. And she started by talking about how Mayor Eric Adams is taking advantage of the situation. 


Christine Quinn: So, you know, 40 years ago, there was a consent decree that established through the courts the right to shelter. The mayor is in court right now using the migrants as a manipulative tool to try to get the courts to repeal the right to shelter. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh my God. 


Christine Quinn: When you’re taking that kind of a posture, you’re not rolling up your sleeves and saying, how do we help these folks? I mean, these are individuals, some of whom most of whom have walked to America. These folks walked through rivers. Now, I believe that struggle is so much the struggle of the history of what made New York great. And we have an obligation as New Yorkers to help these folks. 


Juanita Tolliver: Speaking of Mayor Eric Adams, he delivered his state of the city address yesterday and had this to say about immigration. Take a listen. 


[clip of NYC Mayor Eric Adams] The asylum humanitarian crisis may not be over, but New Yorkers can be proud that we have demonstrated leadership and compassion when so many others showed only cowardice and cruelty. 


Juanita Tolliver: And now that doesn’t quite match with what you just shared about what Mayor Adams is doing in the court. So I want your reaction to what he just said. 


Christine Quinn: It’s inaccurate. You know, let me tell you, I mentioned the thing in the court. Let me tell you another thing the mayor’s doing. Homeless families who are in shelter, every 60 days they basically get an eviction notice and they have to go and reapply for shelter. 


Juanita Tolliver: Like, who does that help? 


Christine Quinn: Who does, you know, what he hopes? Is that people will just become, I guess, burnt out by the process and go somewhere else. Except where are they going to go? Where are they going to go? It is harassment, plain and simple. And now, recently, the order of the 60 day rule was amended. And if you are more than seven months pregnant, you don’t have to go. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, imagine. Okay.


Christine Quinn: And that, we’re supposed to applaud that?


Juanita Tolliver: Right. That seems really bare minimum when we thinking about the impact of the trauma of the experience of being unhoused. But also what we’ve read in the papers about the inhumane treatment that migrants are receiving when they’re being evicted. 


Christine Quinn: Think about it. You’re in a shelter in I’m making this up in East New York, and you’re going to school there. After the 60 day rule, you’re in a shelter in Washington Heights. And, you know, school can be really stabilizing to children. 


Juanita Tolliver: 100%. 


Christine Quinn: Who have had so much trauma. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s a great point, because that’s what I was going to ask about the children who are being impacted by this. I appreciate you mentioning the mothers and pregnant people who are being impacted, but this also leaves scars on children who are just like their parents and their families just trying to have a better life. And I want to go back to a little bit of the need that you’re hearing, because you’re speaking with migrants and asylum seekers on a regular basis. I want to hear what they’re telling you about why they arrived in New York and what they specifically need. What are you hearing from them directly? 


Christine Quinn: So we have about a thousand migrants that we’re housing right now, and we’re going to be taking over another building, which will be 95 families, probably about 300 people, give or take, in the next uh couple of weeks. So they are the most grateful people. You know, they’re in a shelter, but they’re in America. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Christine Quinn: They’re in New York. The fact that there are public schools for their children where they can learn safely, I mean, it just means everything to them and just incredibly resilient. All the migrants want, all they want is to be Americans. And what they really want is to work. That ability to get the work permits is a legal process, and we came to understand that you only have a year to put your process in place, and then you lose your opportunity. So with the New York Legal Assistance Group and the Fragomen law firm, we put in place a legal clinic to help those individuals get their process going so they could get whatever status they could qualify for. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I think that’s so just demonstrative of the value of your organization and collaborating with local legal resources, because that addresses that immediate need. Now, I’m also curious about what permanent solutions exist to help migrants remain housed and secure. So the emergency shelters are temporary. And with the 60 day evictions, it’s hard to see this strategy providing any type of long term solution. So what do you think needs to be done to make sure people have a place to stay and a way to make a living in the long run? We talked about the legal aid, helping with processing paperwork and documents to get work permits. But what else needs to happen?


Christine Quinn: Well a couple of things you know need to happen. One, the governor needs to expand her program around getting work permits and also kind of expand it to cover more folks and have more staff to move things more quickly. Two, we need to get rid of the 60 day rule, and there’s a 30 day rule for single folks. And so we need to get rid of both of those rules. And we need to have the mayor and the governor put in place orders to expand housing vouchers to undocumented folks. The work permits and the vouchers will make all the world of difference. 


Juanita Tolliver: Let’s talk about how to address this problem on the state and national levels at the same time. Earlier this week, nine Democratic governors across the country, including New York Governor Kathy Hochul, signed a letter to the White House calling on the administration to address this humanitarian crisis. So what more do you think the Biden administration needs to do to both support migrants and cities receiving new arrivals, especially in the context of an election year when we know he’s trying to appeal to voters? 


Christine Quinn: The first thing the the administration should do is make funds available to places like New York and Chicago and other places that are having busses sent by Governor Abbott of Texas, who seems to cruelly just, you know, say how many busses he is going to send, particularly now, you know, it’s bad weather here, but think about Chicago. It’s just wrong. Two, uh the president should put more countries under TPS, you know, and if you aren’t going a vote for the president because he’s helping migrants through temporary protective status, you don’t care if it’s one country or ten countries. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Christine Quinn: Right. You’re not going to vote for him. So I don’t understand the the politics of only doing Venezuela when there are other countries that would make an enormous difference. Three I think he should look at all of his different departments and see what how they can help. Two, once we get work permits going and the president can get involved and make work permits easier. We need to connect those who get work permits to the big jobs, like in the Department of Transportation that Secretary Buttigieg is doing. So we can put people to work. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right, because there are projects, as an extension of the previous legislation passed by this administration that do require workers. So that’s a clear through line there. But you did mention Governor Abbott. So I feel like we should take a second for these Republican governors and their inhumanity, because how much of this crisis do you think they are to blame for? Because they’re the ones who are sending these migrants to Democratic led cities. 


Christine Quinn: For Governor Abbott to say, we need more money because we’re a border state, we need more support. I don’t object to that. But taking human beings, children, the elderly and using them as a political pawns to try to stick it to President Biden because he’s a Democrat. I mean, that’s just a sin. There’s no other word for it. And he should be ashamed of himself. 


Juanita Tolliver: And that was my conversation with Christine Quinn, president and CEO of WIN, talking about the growing crisis of migrants being sent to New York City from Republican states. And that’s the latest for now. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: The United Auto Workers union, or UAW, endorsed President Biden yesterday affirming their support for his reelection bid. UAW President Shawn Fain announced the news at a nationwide conference of autoworkers. Take a listen. 


[clip of UAW President Shawn Fain] And this choice is clear. Joe Biden bet on the American worker while Donald Trump blamed the American worker. So if our endorsements must be earned, Joe Biden has earned it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Biden took the stage shortly after that to thank Fain and the union for their endorsement. Here is what he had to say. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] The days of working people being dealt out of the deal are over in this country as long as I’m President. [cheers and applause] Working people are going to get their fair share. You’ve earned it. You fought for it and you deserve it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, he is clearly very passionate about this issue. The UAW’s endorsement is a big deal for Biden’s campaign, as he makes his case for a second term to workers across the country. Especially given that he calls himself the quote, “most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” And it comes after Biden stood firmly with autoworkers during their strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers last year. You’ll remember that he became the first sitting president to walk a picket line when he joined striking UAW members for a rally back in September. But some auto workers weren’t on board with this endorsement. Protesters interrupted yesterday’s conference when Biden took the stage, chanting cease fire now before they were escorted out of the event. The UAW is one of many unions that have publicly called for a cease fire in Gaza, a move that Biden still does not support despite growing calls for him to do so. 


Juanita Tolliver: And for news out of Gaza. Nine people were killed and more than 70 were injured after a United Nations shelter in Khan Younis was bombed yesterday. Two tank rounds hit the building, which was sheltering 800 people, according to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency. While the U.N. didn’t confirm who launched the attack, Israel denied responsibility. But it’s important to note that only Israel uses tanks in the conflict. A U.N. spokesperson told Al Jazeera that they received no warning of the attack, and that the agency hasn’t been able to access the compound for the past two days because of the presence of Israeli tanks. UN officials are expecting the number of victims to rise. They also said that they have to coordinate with the Israeli army in order to send ambulances to the site. And I feel like this fully tracks with what we’ve seen with the IDF blocking aid and resources getting into Gaza. And so now it applies to critical medical care after they hit you in buildings. The head of the U.N. agency said that yesterday’s attack was, quote, “once again, a blatant disregard of the rules of war.”


Priyanka Aribindi: Now we turn to the ongoing fight against anti-trans legislation in red states. On Wednesday, Ohio’s Republican controlled state Senate reversed Republican Governor Mike DeWine’s veto of an anti-trans bill. To catch you up to speed. DeWine made headlines back in December for vetoing House Bill 68, which was a law that would ban medical professionals from providing gender affirming care to trans kids. The law would also bar trans girls from participating in school sports that align with their gender, both in grades K through 12 and at the collegiate level. But DeWine vetoed the bill, saying that families should be able to decide what kind of care is right for their children, not the government. And many trans advocates let out a sigh of relief, hoping that that would be the end of it. But now that the Ohio Senate vetoed DeWine’s decision yesterday, along with the State House two weeks ago, the bill is set to become law in 90 days. This makes Ohio the 22nd state to approve a ban on gender affirming care for minors, and the 24th to ban trans kids from sports, meaning that nearly half the country has adopted laws targeting trans youth. 


Juanita Tolliver: Oh, wow. And also the reality that the walls are closing in because there is no place to go to escape this type of treatment and targeting. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. If you want to learn more about how you can fight back, visit bans. It is really easy to feel dejected and disheartened, but doing something about it is the easiest antidote to that. And the only way that we will get ourselves out of this situation. 


Juanita Tolliver: Notch a win for democracy in Louisiana. On Monday, the state ushered in a new congressional map that creates a second majority-Black district. It came out of a long political battle where a federal court ordered Louisiana to draw up a map that did not dilute the political power of Black communities. If it did, it would be in violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act. Louisiana’s first try at making a map in 2022 was challenged in court by a group of Black voters who said it didn’t go far enough. Republicans eventually relented and agreed to help pass this new map last week. Here’s Democratic state representative and member of the Legislative Black Caucus, Edmond Jordan, after the vote. 


[clip of Edmond Jordan] We got a lot of work to do. And so that means that we got to register people to vote. We got to get them out to the polls to ensure that the work that we’ve done actually comes to fruition. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. Because the map is step one, there are so many other things that need to happen to make sure voters know their power and head to the polls in November. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Totallly. 


Juanita Tolliver: Republican Governor Jeff Landry signed that map into law on Monday. The new majority-Black district stretches through the middle of the state and is currently represented by Republican Garret Graves, who could lose his seat when voters cast their ballots in November. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I am liking the sound of Edmond Jordan’s plan here. Let’s get some people mobilized. Ready to go to the polls. Big opportunity here. And finally, Obamacare has hit a record level of enrollment. More than 21 million people signed up for health plans through the Affordable Care Act for 2024. That is according to an announcement by the Biden administration released yesterday, that is almost 5 million more signups than last year at this same time. Of course, all of this comes while Donald Trump is out there vowing to repeal the program if he is elected president once again. Biden said in a statement yesterday, quote, “The American people have made it clear they don’t want the Affordable Care Act weakened and repealed. They want it strengthened and protected.” Obamacare has survived multiple attempts to be repealed throughout Trump’s presidency, enrollment seems to have spiked in Midwestern and Southern states, including many that are actually led by Republicans. So why the big increase? Well, one factor may be the wave of low income Americans who lost their Medicaid coverage. A lot of residents had Medicaid because of a provision in the Covid 19 relief bill, but that expired last April. And while Obamacare isn’t free like Medicaid, under Biden, health plans in the Affordable Care Act have become more affordable. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, I feel like this is yet another example of the choice election we’re faced with in 2024. You have Trump and Republicans who want to take away your health care, just like they have for the past ten years or so and cause people harm. And you have the Biden administration that wants to protect your access to health care. It seems really straightforward, right? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Very simple if you’re paying attention. 


Juanita Tolliver: Big if. Emphasis on that if. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Big if. 


Juanita Tolliver: Because that’s doing a lot of work.


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. If you’re not burying your head in the sand. It’s pretty clear. But that’s just not the case for everybody. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads for Juanita and I to talk about the most important issue to us this week, the hot goss from reality TV. 




Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Thursday WAD squad, and out of all of the hosts, I think it’s safe to say that Juanita and I probably devour the most reality TV. 


Juanita Tolliver: For sure.


Priyanka Aribindi: Josie and Tre’vell might come for us, but that is a problem for another day. This is probably a fact. And until Crooked creates its own recap show, we are taking a moment to point out that this new show can cover reality news too. TV is culture therefore relevant to what we do here. So today we are doing a little segment that we like to call Reality Check. [cheesy music plays]. 


Juanita Tolliver: [scream] I love it! So much. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I was excited about you listening in that one and your reaction did not disappoint. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m so happy right now. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: We are here with our resident expert on The Real Housewives, Juanita, to fill us in on the latest drama unfolding around The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. Because to say that the internet is in a tizzy about this would really be an understatement. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s the newest iteration of Gossip Girl. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It really is. So funny that this franchise has already had more than its fair share of scandal. Jen Shah famously went to prison for criminal conspiracy, where she is serving a six and a half year sentence and has reportedly befriended fellow fraudster Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos. That is a whole a whole other thing. But there is a new villain in town and a new catchphrase, apparently. So can you explain to us what exactly went down here and why the words receipts, proof, timeline, screenshots is currently scrolling across Google when you search this show? 


Juanita Tolliver: Look, it all went down in the Bermuda Triangle when the newest housewife, Monica, was exposed as a gossip girl. Right. Okay, follow me here. I think Monica is both a victim and a villain. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh? 


Juanita Tolliver: One she has endured a lot of trauma in her life from Jen Shah, from her family, from her mother. And that impacts how she behaves– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Sure. 


Juanita Tolliver: –i.e.. the villain behavior and the lashing out. She decided to lash out on social media for the past few years to expose Jen Shah, but to also attack the other members of the Real Housewives. After she did all that, she decided, okay, well, I’ll join the show now. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That is so wild to me. Like–


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: How did that even happen? 


Juanita Tolliver: Apparently, she told Andy on the reunion that she told casting that she was behind this account. But that is not true. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Whoa. Okay. 


Juanita Tolliver: The other thing that came out is that she was exposed because her bestie flipped and sent the other cast members the videos of her stalking Jen Shah, the screenshots of her sending harmful messages about each of them. All of it. So thus you have your tag phrase. Thus you have your villain. But the door is not closed for Monica. She could be back in the future even though she’s taking next season off. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, taking next season off. I mean, I have not kept up with Salt Lake City. I’m I’m a New York girl. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s worth a watch–


Priyanka Aribindi: New New York. 


Juanita Tolliver: –though. Oh, not new new. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m new New York. It’s too much. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: There’s too much for me. But the way that this captures the imagination of the internet, you need to understand Housewives lore to be able to navigate certain corners of the internet. You need to understand. So I’m really glad that you brought us all up to speed, because otherwise we would just be kind of flying blind here. 


Juanita Tolliver: What I appreciate most, though, is the investment of multiple media outlets to cover this, including the cut that has a new interview with Monica–


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 


Juanita Tolliver: –out just yesterday. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I did see that. 


Juanita Tolliver: So give that a read if you want more background on what’s going down with Monica. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That was Reality Check. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. I personally feel much better equipped to navigate the world with this new information. Now I can use receipts, proof, timeline, screenshots, and act like I know what I’m talking about. So hopefully you feel smarter. Even better if you liked it, talk about it with us in the discord channel. If you want to see this as a full show all the time, let us know. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, please send all the feedback– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Put it in writing. 


Juanita Tolliver: — and notes. Yeah, we want to hear from you all. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Put it in writing. [music break]




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Make cat videos, not war, and tell your friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading and not just every single piece of housewives gossip like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Juanita Tolliver.


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And here’s our Housewives taglines. 


Juanita Tolliver: No, no no no. See, here’s the thing. I’m not that far gone in the universe. But what I will say is baby has range. That’s all. I have range.


Priyanka Aribindi: Receipts, proof, timeline, screenshots. I mean, it doesn’t really work in the regular theme of the Housewives tagline, but I kind of like it. 


Juanita Tolliver: Mm. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Just here for Jenna. That might be mine. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yikes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Just here for Jenna Lyons. [laughter] [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.