NYC Faces Continued Crisis as Migrants Flood In

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Comptroller Brad Lander have made very different public declarations about the state of migration during a time when huge numbers of asylum seekers are moving to the city. 

Story of New York

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For well over a century, New York City has been a prime destination for migrants and asylum seekers searching for a new home. But recently, public officials have openly expressed a difference in opinion about the impact that mass migration is having on the city. 

Unprecedented Numbers

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Last spring over 172,000 asylum seekers entered New York City’s migrant intake system. 67,500 are currently still in the system, which only has a 30-day shelter limit in place to avoid any overflow of temporary residents. 

Concerns Arise

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Recently Democratic officials and city representatives have publicly expressed their concerns over the massive influx of migrants, both the hundreds of thousands coming to New York City and the millions heading into the US via the southern border with Mexico.

The Mayor Speaks Out

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The most notable of these officials is New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who has become notably more outspoken against the surge in the last nine months.

A City on the Brink

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Adams has publically criticized the Biden Administration for its approach to immigration and has called the current surge in migrant arrivals “one of the largest humanitarian crises this city has ever experienced,” one that would “destroy” the city.

National Problem, National Solution

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On Tuesday he called for the federal government to intervene, saying that the crisis was “a national problem and it needs a national solution,” shortly after New York Governor Kathy Hochul made the same plea. 

Not Everyone Agrees

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But other public officials, such as Comptroller Brad Lander, have taken a more positive stance on the matter, drawing attention to the economic benefits that migration provides in the long term.

Benefits of Immigration

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On January 4 Lander’s office issued a press release, going by the title “Facts, Not Fear,” which outlined the benefits that a 100,000-strong migration boost could bring to the city, particularly for the economy. 

Helped the City Recover

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“In the last 20 months, New York City has readily received over 100,000 asylum seekers at a time when we did not know how we would recover from losing nearly half a million residents during the pandemic,” he said. 

Billions for the Economy

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Lander’s press release also claimed that mass migration would “strengthen our economy as workers, entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and consumers,” and would contribute billions of dollars to the local economy.

Taxes and Purchasing Power

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According to his statistics, immigrants living in New York contributed $61 billion in taxes and held $138 billion in purchasing power in 2021 alone. He also pointed out that immigrants make up 43% of the city’s workforce. 

Benefiting From Each Wave

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He also addressed the issue back in August, saying that “New York benefits from each wave of new immigrants who consistently bring new energy, ideas, businesses, culture generation-after-generation, and an abiding faith in the future of our city.”

All They Need Is Good Management

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“New York City stands to benefit greatly from this newest wave of New Yorkers, if we can effectively manage the challenge of helping them find stable housing, get permission to work, and begin building their new lives here.”

A Global Issue

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While he agreed that the federal government should do more to financially compensate for the impact on city infrastructure, services, and more, he also described the situation as part of a “global refugee crisis,” where “more people have been forced to leave their home countries than ever before.”

A Key Issue for Lander

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Lander’s press secretary, Chloe Chik, told Newsweek that the comptroller had brought attention to the issue of immigration and asylum seekers in New York 15 times, with six of those incidents occurring in the past month. 

Something to Be Done

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Despite Lander’s stance, Adams has taken strides to mitigate the immediate financial burden of housing so many people, including filing a lawsuit against several charter bus and transportation companies.

Lawsuits to Recoup Expenses

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The idea was that the city could use the lawsuit to recoup $708 million worth of costs spent on emergency housing and immigration services.

Transportation Woes

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The 17 charter bus and transportation companies implicated in the lawsuit have been accused of transporting thousands of migrants to New York City. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has also taken credit for the transportation of 33,600 immigrants from near the southern border to cities like New York. 

“This Is Not Sustainable”

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Manuel Castro, the commissioner of immigrant affairs for the mayor’s office, has supported Adams’s view of the issue. “Look, we’ve said this time and time again, this is not sustainable,” he said in an interview with FOX 5’s Good Day New York on January 2nd.

It’s an Emergency”

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“We had to do this because it’s an emergency and a lot of people are coming in that have no idea what’s going on,” he continued. “They were just given a bus ticket to come here or a plane ticket to come here and then they don’t know where else to go.”

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