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Eric Adams suggests migrants could fill NYC’s lifeguard shortage — because ‘they’re excellent swimmers’

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Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday suggested migrants should be hired to fill the city’s lifeguard shortage — because “they’re excellent swimmers.”

Hizzoner dropped the comment after being asked during a City Hall briefing about lifeguard staffing at the city’s beaches and pools, which have increasingly had issues in recent years, ahead of Memorial Day.

Going off on a tangent, Adams indicated that Gotham’s lifeguard shortages could easily be fixed if migrant work visas were being expedited for those jobs that needed to be filled quickly.


Mayor Eric Adams suggested Tuesday that migrants could help fill the Big Apple’s lifeguard shortage because “they’re excellent swimmers.” Paul Martinka

“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,” the mayor said.

“That just doesn’t make sense.”

Scores of migrants wade across the Rio Grande along the US-Mexico border every day in a bid to enter America, an out-of-control situation that has flooded the Big Apple with immigrants needing shelter, food, medical care and other necessities.

Adams also rattled off a slew of other jobs that could be filled if the red tape were cut and work permits were sped up for skilled migrants.

“If we had a plan that said, ‘If there was a shortage of food service workers and those who fit that criteria, we’re going to expedite you,’ if you have experience that you are a nurse and we have nursing shortage, we would expedite you,” he said.

“It’s the same for lifeguards. 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.”

While it isn’t the first time Adams has made a plea for migrants to fill lifeguard positions across the city, the mayor previously hadn’t made the connection to their swimming ability.

Meera Joshi, deputy mayor for operations, followed up on the current shortage, saying 560 first-time lifeguards passed the “rigorous” testing for positions ahead of the summer this year. By comparison, 364 applicants passed last year.


Adams said there are several positions that could be filled by migrants if work visas were expedited.
Adams said there are several positions that could be filled by migrants if work visas were expedited. Paul Martinka

It wasn’t immediately clear how many existing lifeguards would be recertified for this summer to add to the numbers, Joshi said.

The Adams administration has pushed to recruit new guards over the past few years, boosting the pay to $22 per hour and offering $1,000 bonuses for those who work through the peak season.

Roughly 1,500 are needed to staff the 14 miles of beaches and public pools scattered across the city.

“This is not a new comment from the mayor,” a City Hall rep later told The Post. “He’s repeatedly made the point that there are people who are qualified for jobs where we have vacancies, they are prepared to do the job, and yet the federal government continues to deny them the legal right to work.”

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