This is what makes New York City great. And how we treat newcomers — how we welcome them — is what makes New York City good.
But that goodness is being manipulated by xenophobic conservative governors, notably Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, who send migrants to New York and other sanctuaries, or sometimes refuse to enforce draconian anti-immigrant laws. it would deport people simply for seeking a better life in the US. New York City alone has received around 13,000 migrants, according to the mayor of the city, Eric Adams; nine buses full of people arrived this weekend.
This volume of new arrivals has put tremendous strain on New York’s already overstretched shelter system. New York City is unique in that every homeless New Yorker must be placed in a shelter bed or face fines every night. But there are currently 9,500 migrants in the shelter system, which has almost exceeded its capacity.
For red-state governors who fall into the DeSantis and Abbott camp, the bottom line is this: They say they’ve shouldered the burden of dealing with desperate newcomers, and they think liberal states should get on board with the problem. Maybe they seem to think this will make liberals tougher on border enforcement.
But border enforcement is already tough: more than two million people have been apprehended at the border this year alone, a new record. Tough border policies don’t solve the problems driving the current wave of migration to the US from places like Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. According to data from Customs and Border Protection, the number of migrants from these countries has increased by 175% since August 2021 (while the numbers from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have decreased by 43%).
The problem is authoritarian governments that have made life unlivable for their citizens — those who want the kind of freedom and opportunity that conservatives say make life in the US so great. Most of the people who come from these countries are not criminals who break the law, but people who yearn for freedom from tyranny, subjugation and poverty. The fact that at least part of this suffering is caused by left-wing governments could, for a more empathetic conservative party, be a reason to welcome those people who legally seek asylum.
Instead, more and more conservatives are demanding that we collectively ignore our international and human rights obligations and refuse to admit asylum seekers.
This is cruel, but it is also self-enhancing. Immigration is only a problem if you keep immigrants scared, poor, desperate and helpless in their new home. Allow people to have security, work and the ability to plan for the future, and they put in more than they take in: they create more jobs, and more than they take out in tax contributions. Their children become the next generation of entrepreneurs and job creators.
Some of the same conservatives who wring their hands over a supposed pregnancy crisis, arguing that American women are not having enough children to keep the economy growing and support retirees, oppose welcoming new immigrants and their children. Why?
The US currently has about 11 million open jobs, with employers in desperate need of jobs, many of which do not require a high school diploma, let alone a college degree. A major cause of this shortage: the radical drop in immigration to the US caused by the pandemic.
Instead of treating men, women and children like political pawns and humiliating them for photo ops, conservative politicians could be working across the aisle to help newcomers find stability, which in turn would allow them to fill open jobs and get their children into school and beyond. the path to upward mobility — a win.
To do this, we need much more investment in immigration courts so that asylum claims and other immigration matters can be processed in a reasonable amount of time, rather than asylum seekers waiting years and years to find out if their future is safe and secure. Conservative states also need to invest in new arrivals, helping them find jobs and housing, so they can start returning to new homes. Busing to blue states may be politically attractive, but it really isn’t beneficial to state economies.
And progressive states should, of course, continue to do all they can to help newcomers who arrive, and demand that our federal government leaders adopt more humane immigration policies, including welcoming those fleeing authoritarianism and helping them find safety. as soon as possible
Immigrants are not a problem. Immigration is only a problem because our support systems are weak and underfunded, our court systems are understaffed and still reeling from pandemic shutdowns, and some of our neighboring countries are subject to oppressive caseloads. Most of the time, these problems can be solved, at least within our limits. But they won’t be solved by more brutal border policies that force people to take ever greater risks. And they certainly can’t be solved by selling people scared and confused, and turning their tragedy into a vindictive political joke.