NY Democratic Elected Leaders Challenge Biden Administration: You Left Us Alone on Immigration Crisis!

For the umpteenth time from the Big Apple, but this time with a more challenging tone, the White House is demanded to design a “national action” to help close the financial bloodletting caused by the flow of immigrants. For their part, Republicans insist that the only way out is to secure the border.

The appalling immigration and humanitarian crisis that continues to simmer in the Big Apple on Tuesday prompted New York’s Democratic elected leaders to speak out this time in a very loud and defiant tone to Joe Biden’s Administration. The request is exactly the same as it was 14 months ago, when hundreds of asylum seekers began being bussed in from Texas: More funding and national action are needed to address a human surge that just won’t stop.

The trend observed this summer is that more people from more countries and other continents continue to arrive en masse. Already nearly 58,000 are under the City’s full care. More than 100,000 have arrived in the city since the spring of 2022.

This time the call, which has been repeated week after week as this crisis continues to escalate, was led by Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso who, backed by councilmembers, assemblymembers, community leaders and Mayor Eric Adams himself, demanded that the federal government “stand up” to a national crisis that, in his words, New York City has faced alone.

“President Biden has completely ignored us. Let’s be clear, they have done nothing to address this situation. We want to help immigrants. But we can’t provide all the economic assistance. Nor can we solve the legal challenges of getting them employment authorization,” Reynoso said.

The Brooklyn County leader, who calls himself from the more progressive Democratic wing, assures that even the most conservative Democrats and even “fellow” Republicans are “on the same page”.

State Senator Jabari Brisport, Assemblymen Robert Carroll and Lester Chang, and Brooklyn Councilwoman Alexa Aviles joined the petition.

Three actions

In summary, the group of elected leaders and community activists are demanding three key actions from the White House: More funding to serve shelters and provide legal aid, allocation and extension of new benefits such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for newly arrived communities from countries in Africa, Venezuela and Guatemala. Also the expediting of work permits.

“We must recognize two things at this time. First, that Washington has ignored us. And second, that this humanitarian crisis, which is growing every day, was caused by the Republican Party and its governors by moving people in buses, without any coordination,” remarked Ombudsman Jumaane Williams.

After a week of showing the exact projections of how this emergency is bleeding municipal coffers, the mayor recalled that without financial support from the White House, in three years they will have consumed $12 billion in providing shelter, food, medical services to the new arrivals.

“This is unacceptable! It is not fair to New Yorkers. This will mean cuts in critical services. It is not fair to the City that has done the most to address this crisis,” said the mayor, from the steps of the Brooklyn Borough President’s office.

It was learned that last week a Biden Administration official held a meeting with Mayor Adams. But it was not specified what were the real effects of that meeting.

Republicans: Close the border!

While Democratic leaders demand more funds to be directed to assistance programs for those who continue to arrive at a rate of 2,500 people per week, the Republican minority in the City Council and the State Assembly continues to interpret and make it clear that the only way to solve this crisis is to close the border.

In this regard, Mike Tannousis, Assemblyman from Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn argues that “the federal government has failed us by not protecting our border. And the local government has failed us by continuing to open migrant shelters in residential communities, without oversight,” referring to the intention to open a new emergency shelter on Island Shore in the vicinity of a nursing home.

Other areas of the Big Apple, such as a wing of McCarren Park in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, have been used to establish emergency shelters for single men only. Such actions have been openly protested by residents, who fear they are bringing people into their neighborhoods who could eventually be dangerous.

“I am Hispanic. I am an immigrant. And it would be unfair to think that all people who cross the border are criminals. Because New York has been built with thousands of undocumented immigrants. But in the past no one arrived living in shelters in parks and public areas, which are supposed to be spaces for families. It’s a big mistake,” commented Brooklyn resident Claudia Morillo as she listened to the Democratic leaders’ speech.

For his part, Joe Borelli, the Council’s Republican leader, argued that “the city is not the refugee camp of the world”. He urged that New York taxpayers not “pay for them” in perpetuity.

“City Hall is not a charity. It is a municipal corporation with a balanced budget required for the quality of life of New Yorkers,” he posted on the social network X (formerly twitter).

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