President Joe Biden’s border crisis has undermined one of the Left’s most treasured virtue-signaling policies: sanctuary cities.
Blue cities that were so eager just a few years ago to declare themselves sanctuaries for illegal migrants are now reaping what they sowed as floods of people arrive, needing food and shelter and draining city resources.
The crisis has quickly worsened since Title 42 expired less than two weeks ago, snowballing into an emergency even Democrats can no longer ignore. Title 42 had allowed border authorities to quickly expel migrants at the border over COVID concerns.
Red state governors in border states like Texas are shipping migrants to sanctuary cities by the hundreds, saying, “You wanted them. You take them.”
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has bused more than 19,000 migrants to New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, and Philadelphia, all Democrat-run cities. Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis famously sent a bus of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, the Massachusetts haven for the uber-wealthy.
In New York City, which has allowed in more than 70,000 migrants in recent months, Democratic Mayor Eric Adams is complaining that they are costing the city an unsustainable fortune, even with federal aid from the Biden administration.
“We’ve spent over $1 billion. We’re projected to spend close to $4.3 billion, if not more. When you look at the price tag, $30 million comes nowhere near what this city is paying for a national problem,” Adams said.
The city has taken over more than 150 hotels to shelter more than 41,000 asylum seekers, in some cases causing paying customers to lose their reservations. Adams and Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul are also calling for expedited work authorizations for migrants in New York.
The border crisis has also caused a rift between Adams and the White House. Biden aides are reportedly roiled that Adams said the “national government has turned its back” on New York City and warned that the border crisis could hurt Democrats at the polls.
Just a few miles away on Long Island, Suffolk County lawmakers are trying to block the mayor from foisting the asylum seekers on them.
“We here in Suffolk County are 2,000 miles from the southern border, but we are to become a border county because of the Biden administration’s failed border policies and the sanctuary city policies of New York City,” said eastern Long Island Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY) on Sunday at a press conference.
“I say to the mayor of New York City, sir, put your money where your mouth is,” LaLota said.
Philadelphia is scrambling to metabolize hundreds of migrants being bused into the city as well, some sent by Texas.
Philadelphia Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney blasted the Texas governor, saying his “cruel and racist policies” are “sad and outrageous,” and Texas is using migrants as “pawns to shamelessly push their warped political agenda.”
Kenney was in a slightly better mood in 2018 when he did a little dance after a federal judge ruled Philadelphia could remain a sanctuary city and get $1.5 million in federal funding.
In Chicago, migrants have slept on the floors of police stations and overcrowded city shelters as city officials scramble to figure out what to do with them.
The situation is an immediate emergency for Chicago’s new Democratic mayor, Brandon Johnson, who took office last week. Chicago’s freshly ousted mayor, Lori Lightfoot, upset residents when she bused dozens of illegal migrants out of the city into a nearby suburb. Johnson has not said exactly how he plans to deal with the migrants long-term, but the mayor’s office said 400 migrants might be housed at a local college over the summer.
Denver has several hundred migrants arriving daily, most from Central and South America. Last week, the sanctuary city ramped up its response to the emergency level. About 1,000 people are now staying in four shelters across the city.
So far, Denver has spent $15.7 million on migrants since December, with less than $250,000 in help from the federal government.
San Francisco dug its heels in on its sanctuary city status earlier this year, even as federal authorities sought an exception for two illegal immigrants, one accused of murder and one of sexually abusing young children.
Meanwhile, Bay Area humanitarian groups are begging for help as they prepare for a wave of migrants.
There are at least 181 sanctuary cities and counties in 11 states, including California, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Vermont.
So far, major cities are dealing with the brunt of the border crisis. Soon though, smaller cities and suburbs could also feel the pressure when big cities inevitably relocate migrants, as Chicago started to do.
In the meantime, Democratic governors and mayors are blaming everyone but themselves for the crisis.