FAIR Take | May 2023
Sanctuary New York City (NYC) Mayor Eric Adams is complaining loudly about the illegal aliens coming into his city saying “the city is being destroyed by the migrant crisis.” Ironically, just a couple of years ago, he put out the welcome mat for all illegal aliens to come to New York. In October 2021, Mayor Adams tweeted that NYC will remain a sanctuary city under the Adams administration, expressing that “we should protect our immigrants.” Now that NYC is shouldering the costs for the latest influx of illegal aliens, he is saying there is no more room at the inn and he is trying to send these “unwelcome guests” onto neighboring counties.
As a result of the Biden administration’s lax immigration policies, 61,000 illegal aliens have come to NYC over the past year and about 40,000 are on the taxpayer dole receiving housing, food, and other benefits. These illegal aliens are placing a tremendous strain on city resources and existing housing for the homeless is filled to capacity.
Mayor Adams estimates that the Biden administration’s immigration policies will cost the city $4.3 billion in 2023 and 2024. These costs were not included in a recent FAIR cost study that found New York was home to 1.8 million illegal aliens which cost taxpayers $9.9 billion.
With existing facilities unable to house the 500 illegal aliens arriving daily and the expected influx of 300-500 additional illegal aliens with the lifting of Title 42, NYC has requested that all city agencies review their facilities to determine whether they can be repurposed into temporary housing for illegal aliens. Some of the locations being considered are hangars at JFK International Airport as well as local college gyms and parks including Central Park and Prospect Park.
One temporary facility currently being used to house illegal aliens is a former New York police department training academy (NYPDTA). While the NYPDTA is no longer in use, there is still a shooting range that is being used. The NYPDTA’s gym was set up with rows of cots to house single males. However, the facility also had to admit families and children, prompting Mayor Adams to suspend NYC’s “Right to Shelter Policy” which requires the city to house families in private rooms.
Open borders advocates have complained about the housing situation, stating that “[p]rivate sleeping quarters are required for families’ safety, for mothers to privately nurse newborns, to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases, and to prevent sexual assault.” These advocates raise valid concerns regarding safety. It is estimated that one out of three women and children are sexually assaulted or raped crossing the border and it continues in the US with reports about rape trees and on sexual abuse in stash houses.
In addition to re-purposing existing facilities in NYC to accommodate the influx of illegal aliens, Mayor Adams is trying to ship illegal aliens into other counties within the state. Mayor Adams notified Rockland, Orange, Rensselaer, and Oneida counties that illegal aliens would be sent to their locales for “temporary housing, access to services, and connections to local communities as they build a stable life in New York state.” He continued, “Elected officials in New York and other parts of the country should do their part and emulate the humane and compassionate approach NYC has taken this past year.”
Public officials in all of these counties have denounced Mayor Adams plan to send illegal aliens to their counties and have declared states of emergency. “These are failures of the sanctuary city policy, and now, big city politicians want to have all of us pay the price for their misguided actions,” stated Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin. “We do not have the structure or the resources to take care of these people being forced out of NYC,” he added. This is not the first time Rensselaer County has opposed sanctuary policies. In 2019, Rensselaer County filed a lawsuit against New York’s Greenlight law that granted driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day also denounced Mayor Adams’ attempt to ship the migrant problem elsewhere. Rockland County has filed legal action to stop Mayor Adams from sending illegal aliens into the county, and a judge issued a temporary restraining order to keep Mayor Adams from sending aliens to a Rockland County hotel. Commenting on the lawsuit, Mr. Day said, “Rockland is not going to stand idly by as your administration which boasts itself as a sanctuary city diverts busloads of undocumented individuals to our county.”
Now New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) is currently having her administration look into whether local governments can block NYC from sending illegal aliens into their communities. As the debate unfolds at the state and local level, the Biden Administration has remained quiet. Administration officials this week blamed Congress for not passing the mass amnesty legislation President Biden sent to Congress his first week in office.