New York’s Migrant Crisis Is Growing. So Are Democrats’ Anxieties

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





New York City is grappling with a humanitarian dilemma as more than 120,000 migrants have arrived in the past 18 months, escaping political and economic unrest in their home countries. The majority hail from Latin America, particularly Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador, with some also coming from West Africa, including Mauritania, Senegal, and Chad. The surge of migrants is straining the city’s resources, notably its shelter system, currently accommodating over 60,000 individuals in hotels, shelters, and a tent city. Providing education, healthcare, and social services is also proving challenging, especially for those who don’t speak English.

How are Democrats Addressing the Crisis?

The migrant crisis poses a political challenge for the Democrats, who have control at the city, state, and federal levels. Mayor Eric Adams, who assumed office in January 2024, faces criticism for his handling of the situation. This includes filing for the suspension of the right-to-shelter law, arguing that it was not designed for a humanitarian crisis, and the city can’t keep up with the demand. Adams has also initiated a program to cut spending by 5% each year across all city agencies to conserve financial resources.

Governor Kathy Hochul, who took over from Andrew Cuomo in August 2023, has also received disapproval for her management of the migrant crisis. A Siena College Research Institute poll indicated that 51% of voters disapprove of Hochul’s performance, while only 35% approve. Hochul and Adams have clashed over coordinating state and city efforts, and Hochul has called on the federal government to provide more aid and support to New York.

President Joe Biden, who won New York comfortably in 2020, has seen a decline in popularity in the state due to the migrant crisis. A Siena poll showed that only 43% of New Yorkers approve of Biden’s performance, while 53% disapprove. Some Democrats criticize Biden for not giving enough attention and taking action on the issue, viewing it as a potential threat to their electoral prospects in 2024. Biden has defended his administration’s migration policies, which involve increased humanitarian assistance to origin countries, expanded legal pathways for refugees and asylum seekers, and improved border security and cooperation with regional partners.

What are the Implications for the Future?

The migrant crisis in New York is not just a humanitarian and political challenge but also a social and cultural one. The influx of migrants from diverse backgrounds has sparked discussions about the identity, values, and cohesion of the city and state. Some New Yorkers welcome the migrants for their diversity, vitality, and economic potential, while others see them as a burden, threat, or competition for limited resources. According to the Siena poll, 46% of voters believe migrants settling in New York over the last 20 years have been a burden, while 32% see them as a benefit. Additionally, 58% of voters think New Yorkers have done enough and should try to slow the flow of migrants, while 36% believe they should accept and assimilate them.

The New York migrant crisis also reflects global trends and challenges affecting various countries and regions. The causes and consequences of migration involve complex factors, including political, economic, social, environmental, and human elements. Addressing the crisis necessitates cooperation and coordination among different levels and actors of governance, as well as compassion and solidarity among diverse communities and groups. The New York migrant crisis is not solely a local or national issue but a global one, and its resolution will impact the future of New York, the United States, and the world.


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