Sanctuary cities are easy to declare but harder to pay for. Take New York City. It has long attracted immigrants, both legal and illegal. But the latest wave to hit—and, perhaps, overwhelm—the Big Apple comes thanks to President Joe Biden’s dismantling of border controls and disregard of immigration law.
Most recently, Biden has abused his parole authority. The Immigration and Nationality Act expressly limits using this power to deal with individual cases. Yet Biden is applying it to entire nationalities, allowing tens of thousands of immigrants a month into the country without visas, vetting or voter approval.
Several states have sued, arguing that the parole “pathways” policy unconstitutionally usurps congressional authority over immigration matters. They have a strong case, but like similar cases, it could drag on for years.
Meanwhile, Biden’s catch-and-release border policies are sending thousands of needy immigrants to cities across the nation, mostly flown or bused by nonprofits using your tax dollars. Like everyone else, these people want jobs, housing, schools and health care. They go where they think they can get it. For many, that’s the Big Apple.
New York has a bigger population than many countries, but it is still struggling to house, feed and provide services to 40,000 (and coming) Biden parolees. Mayor Eric Adams recently tweeted: “This is a national crisis.” His solution? “The federal government should pick up the entire cost…” Naturally.
Adams has tried in vain to keep up with the flow. First, he filled up the city homeless shelters. Next, he booked 70 small hotels, built a tent city, considered leasing a cruise ship, commandeered the luxury Row, Stewart, Wolcott, Watson and Paramount hotels and, most recently, planned to use the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. All this is to house foreign nationals who have no legal basis to enter or remain in the U.S. other than Biden’s flimsy executive say-so and the unenforceable promise of an asylum claim.
Manhattan’s theaters and museums pulled in more than 8 million foreign and nearly 50 million domestic tourists in 2022, a significant rebound from 2021’s COVID-19 travel and event restrictions. Nonetheless, Adams is commandeering businesses that pay city taxes and turning them into revenue-sapping public shelters. Judging from the look of some of the rooms after they’ve housed the immigrants, the city will be billed for some refurbishment costs too.
Like his fellow mayors in Chicago and Washington, D.C., Adams has been demanding federal funds to pay for New York’s generosity. So far, he says he needs $2 billion. Giving migrants hotel rooms, three meals a day, health care, education and legal aid doesn’t come cheap.
New Yorkers must wonder why supposedly desperate “refugees” from oppressive regimes and collapsed economies are partying, getting into fights and throwing away free food. Citizens having trouble making rent might not understand why migrants put up in $500-a-night hotels would still complain.
There are other costs too. On Jan. 9, four men from Venezuela were arrested for stealing goods worth more than $12,000 from a Long Island Macy’s. Four Colombians were arrested for a string of home robberies nearby. According to police, all eight men “had within the past year entered the country at the border as asylum seekers.” Police think they are part of an organized criminal group, which didn’t prevent them from being processed into the U.S.A. with no proof of identity and no credible background check.
U.S. border authorities have no way of knowing if these men have criminal histories back home. The Maduro regime is not friendly to the United States and won’t share their records with us. Unless the four Venezuelan thieves had committed previous crimes in the U.S., their fingerprints, (alleged) names and photographs would have raised no red flags in our systems. “Progressive” New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg may well opt not to charge them. But even if they are convicted, they will be back onto American streets after serving their sentences; Biden has given up on trying to send back even criminals to Venezuela.
Though it’s New York City today, it’ll be Smalltown, USA, tomorrow. This week, Reps. Claudia Tenney and Elise Stefanik, both R-N.Y., complained to the president about “the secrecy with which your administration has and continues to carry out … national relocation operations.” They were referring not just to secret night flights that dropped off immigrants at smaller airports last summer, but more recently to a group of Columbians who went from El Paso, Texas, to Jamestown in upstate New York. According to a local news outlet, many more are on the way.
Biden’s rampant abuse of parole and disdain for the asylum process has costs, which must be borne by someone. This price is becoming apparent even to the most liberal big-city mayors.
Rather than asking for federal money to bail them out for free city services, local politicians of both parties should instead end their sanctuary policies and insist that Biden take easy and legal steps to secure the border and prevent illegal immigration. That would include ending his made-up new parole “lawful pathways” into the country.
This piece originally appeared in ArcaMax