OpEd: Disorder On The Border Wreaks Havoc in New York

Migrants outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan. (File photo/Dean Moses/amNY Metro)

We are a nation of immigrants, and New  York has been at the forefront of welcoming  and assimilating millions of newcomers who  have enriched our culture and anchored our  economy.  

But the migrant crisis of the last two years,  the result of federal gridlock that has treated  immigration as a political football instead of  a problem to be resolved, has overwhelmed  New York’s ability to house and support the  estimated 180,000 asylum seekers who  recently have arrived, with about 65,000 still  in the city’s care.  

Mayor Adams and his administration, and by  extension the entire metropolitan area, are  caught between a rock and a hard place,  forced to deal with an issue they did not  create and have no authority to resolve.  

The Biden administration recently  announced plans to expedite amnesty  hearings for single adult migrants who  illegally cross the border, requiring that they  

go before a judge with a decision to be  rendered within 180 days, during which they  are released into the community. The mayor  has been leading a chorus to quickly grant  them work authorization, which would both  ease the financial crunch for local taxpayers  and allow them to begin to assimilate.  

The cost to local taxpayers is astronomical,  anticipated to rise to $12.5 billion through  2025. Those are tax dollars that cannot be  used to provide more resources for public  safety, ease the housing crunch, educate our  children and protect us against climate  change.  

Governors in places like Texas and Florida  cynically use their own taxpayers’ dollars to  bus migrants to northern cities, including  New York. When Mayor Adams moved to  seize the buses, migrants were simply  unloaded in New Jersey for the last leg of  their travel. 

The flow of migrants has thankfully slowed  over the last six months, a combination of  tougher border enforcement and actions by  our neighbor nations to the south  discouraging transit through their countries. 

It cannot be repeated enough that  immigration is a federal issue, and it is the  federal government that must take the lead  on offsetting the devastating impact on local  taxpayers.  

It is time the federal government does its job.

Howard Fensterman is the managing partner of the Abrams Fensterman law firm based in Lake Success.