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How Do We Handle New York’s Immigration Crisis?

As New York City deals with its influx of immigrants, many begin to question its capacities and even more question legislators’ actions (or inactions) on the matter. Over 110,000 migrants, mainly from Central and South America, with others from Africa and the Middle East, have chosen to seek asylum in New York, awaiting asylum applications to obtain legal status in the US. 

Just this past week, Mayor Eric Adams requested to temporarily suspend the “right to shelter,” which has been the saving grace for immigrants. The mayor claimed that this temporary modification would give the city more flexibility to handle the intake of migrants.

Yet, the Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless predict that this suspension would result in hundreds being forced onto the streets. The Legal Aid Society has also worked with both Albany and City Hall to identify resources to help New York absorb the immigrants, and claims that “leaders have failed to follow through on these solutions.”

“This abhorrent and unnecessary maneuver is a betrayal of the City’s commitment towards ensuring that no one is relegated to living – or dying – on the streets of our city,” reads a statement from the organizations. 

The immigration situation in New York City has drawn ire from all sides. Right-leaning news and media have placed heavy blame on the Biden administration, condemning the arranged flights of illegal border crossers to the New York area. They also focus on the non-governmental organized buses that are being paid for by the federal government.

“New York's immigrant problems are the result of policies promised by candidate Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race and delivered by President Joe Biden in the two years and eight months since January 2021,” said Byron York of the Washington Examiner.

But before we blame the Biden administration, let’s note that there’s been little effort to find solutions in red states that have also been struggling with the border crisis, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott sending migrants to New York instead of finding a robust solution within his borders.


Looking at left-leaning media, we are met with a more succinct account of the crisis, with reporters from the city giving their first-hand view of the asylum centers. A picture is painted of fresh faces filling the city, nothing like the imagery of an “invasion” or “national emergency” that anti-migrant protests and politicians have cited. Rather, we see “people trying to do the right thing, following the rules, and getting in the indefinable “line” of lawfully seeking asylum.”

The humanity of the migrants is in stark contrast to the politically driven zero-sum messages that pit citizens and residents against newcomers. But as Mayor Adams repeatedly highlights that the migrants “will destroy” the city, Americans are likely to believe him. 

Leftist and Centrist articles give a clear picture of the state of affairs, but they do not highlight the inevitable effects on the city’s infrastructure or budget. If New York can deal with the migrant influx, it must still weather substantial costs.

Would it not be easier to extend the “right to shelter” mandate across other states, to promote legal border crossing and mitigate illegal immigration? By incentivizing legal means of entering the country, migrants are likely to enter smoothly into work, landing on their feet in a new country. Crime would be mitigated with a more reformed system of immigration, and no one city or state would become overly inundated with people.

To some, the American Dream may seem a bit worn out. But for those seeking asylum, the hardships and poverty in their home countries are no longer viable options. We must find a solution that addresses this humanitarian crisis. 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.

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