Over the past year, Joe Biden’s border crisis has brought a historic flood of immigrants to New York, turning the “sanctuary city” into an inhospitable slum for its own people. The sentimental vision of a nation without borders, captured in the famous words inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty – “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – has become, thanks to Biden, a monstrous reality.
Mayor Eric Adams has been like a man lost at sea. His desperate cries for help have fallen on deaf ears in Washington, as the city consumes itself. Over the next two years, the new arrivals are estimated to cost $12 billion, and Adams has announced steep budget cuts to make up the difference.
Adams was elected as a backlash to “defund the police” sentiment, but “defund” is what the city is getting: the city will freeze hiring of new officers, leaving NYPD with its fewest cops since the 1980s. The NYPD is already struggling with recruitment in the anarchic climate of the post-George Floyd era, which has unleashed a war on cops and law-abiding civilians alike. Subway riders live in fear of being randomly stabbed or shoved on the tracks. The crime wave has brought comparisons to New York’s dark past: the mayor, perhaps not realizing what he was saying about his city, mentioned the movie Death Wish while commenting on a recent incident of subway vigilantism.
Adams is also cutting $1 billion over two years from the education budget, even as the influx crowds the public school system with thousands of new, non-English speaking students. Adams has asked parents to help with school security as the city plans to cut 250 safety agents. The city will cut $5.5 million in sanitation services, although it is unlikely anyone will notice a difference in the streets and sidewalks commandeered by the newcomers. Just two percent of “asylum seekers” have applied for work permits. If any should develop the initiative to educate themselves, Virgil and Chaucer will have to wait – the city’s libraries will be closed on Sunday.
This is the reality of open borders: everything gets worse, nothing gets better.
The crisis has shifted New York politics to the right. The Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, has been loath to spread the burden outside city limits to more politically moderate suburbs like Long Island, which has turned red the last two election cycles in response to the chaos unfolding westward. In Republican-leaning Staten Island, outraged residents showed up in force and pressured officials to close a makeshift shelter at a former Catholic school. In Democratically-run Erie County, executive Mark Poloncarz – who is potentially eyeing a House seat next year – stopped accepting immigrants after two were arrested for sexual assault at hotels in Buffalo.
But the “asylum seekers” are fighting back. A crowd gathered outside Gracie Mansion Thursday to demand indefinite free housing under New York’s absurd “right to shelter” rule, which has been interpreted as an obligation to house the entire world in five-star hotels at taxpayer expense. (The city’s “homeless” population has doubled over the past year because of immigration alone). Even Hochul is smart enough to recognize the lunacy of the situation: “I don’t know how the right to shelter….can or should be interpreted to be an open invitation to 8 billion people who live on this planet,” she said.
New York has been boxed in by its own dopey idealism. But the solution to this nightmare lies at the federal level. It is readily available, but the Biden administration has no incentive to implement it. Biden’s primary concern is using immigration as a weapon to increase his party’s political power. If backlash does not sink Biden in 2024, he will have no reason to change course during a second term. The faster America’s aging, white Republican base dies off, the better for the left. And the change is happening quickly. Illegal immigration hit another record in September, with 270,000 crossings in just one month. That’s just the known number of crossings. By the time Biden’s first term is over, millions will have been added to the population.
Adams has said the invasion will “destroy” New York before long. He is correct, of course. The city’s downfall is a cautionary tale: as goes the city, so goes the nation.