For several years, news reports have chronicled how tens of thousands of wealthy and middle-class families have been fleeing New York City and state for less expensive and safer destinations.
More recently, news reports have chronicled how more than 100,000 illegal immigrants who crossed the southern border and claimed asylum have come to the city, with 60,000 of them living free of charge in publicly-funded hotels and shelters.
The sheer numbers are swamping the bureaucracy and budget and riling inundated neighborhoods.
Seen in relation to each other, the waves of departures and arrivals illustrate a rapid shift in the city’s population and tax base.
They also sound a warning that Gotham’s already-serious decline in public safety and order is likely to accelerate.
These dramatic changes serve as a backdrop for understanding Gov. Hochul’s belated and misguided plea for the White House to rescue New York from the asylum-seeker crisis.
Mayor Adams, who initially touted the city’s sanctuary status and arranged bus transportation for some border-crossers from Texas, was slow to understand the enormous burden he was committing to and the impact on city residents.
He now estimates the price tag for housing, feeding, transporting, educating and providing health care for the new immigrants will be an astonishing $12 billion over three years.
With no end in sight to the growing number of arrivals and faced with persistent pressure from the mayor, Hochul finally summoned the courage to publicly demand that Washington step up.
“New York has shouldered this burden for far too long,” said the governor, a Democrat like the mayor and the president.
“This crisis originated with the federal government, and it must be resolved through the federal government.”
So far, so good.
With Adams demanding more than the $1.5 billion the state has pledged, and pushing the governor to force the suburbs to accept migrants, Hochul needed to look like she was doing something.
If she gets federal money, she could presumably limit the state’s contributions and temporarily pacify the mayor.
But with a pol as risk-adverse as Hochul, it pays to note what she didn’t say.
Nowhere in a 10-minute speech or in a separate letter does she directly challenge President Biden over the cause of the problem — his open border polices.
Migrant asylum toll
It’s not a minor lapse.
As long as the gates are open and everyone who comes can legally wait years for their asylum claims to be heard, there is no limit to how many people will arrive in New York and how much it will cost taxpayers.
But merely to mention that obvious fact would inflame the far-left activists who rule the Democrats’ party and who say there should be no distinction between legal and illegal immigration.
So Hochul dare not speak the truth or point out the source of the “crisis” she bemoans.
Although some 6 million largely unvetted people have crossed illegally from Mexico in the last two-plus years, she’s only concerned because the 100,000 known to be in New York City are a financial burden.
That narrow approach is destined to fail because nearly every city, town and village in America could make a similar demand about the costs it has borne because of the open border, and that’s something the White House dreads.
So it quietly gave the city $140 million with no promises of more, lest it open the door to thousands of other demands.
It would have been bad enough if that were Hochul’s only mistake.
But she also made specific demands of Biden that would actually make New York’s problem worse — and permanent.
First, she wants approval for more federal sites in New York to be used for migrant housing.
She recently got the feds to allow a 2,000-bed shelter to be built at Floyd Bennett Field, a naval air station in Brooklyn that is located in the Gateway National Recreation Area, a decision that drew a large local protest.
But, as Adams notes, the city has opened more than 200 sites so far, and with thousands of migrants coming every week, each new shelter or hotel fills in days.
That’s why he wants a “decompression” plan to ship migrants out of the city.
No ‘working’ solution
Yet most egregious is the request by Hochul, with support from Adams, for Washington to speed up work authorization papers so the migrants can legally work here.
“Our quest continues to squarely tell the White House: Let them work,” she told reporters.
Her administration says it would be a matchmaker with many employers who have job openings and also aims to help the migrants find permanent housing.
As self-defeating ideas go, this one takes the cake.
On top of the city’s legal obligation to provide free shelter, giving out quick work permits and helping migrants get jobs and permanent housing would be a uniquely generous package of benefits that would serve as an invitation for even more migrants to come here.
Indeed, why would they go anywhere else?
With the border remaining open, what if the 100,000 already here becomes 200,000 and then 300,000?
Would Hochul change her tune then?
The same question applies to Adams, who took office on a pledge to crack down on crime.
He made meaningful progress, but his tenure is now being defined by how the migrant explosion distorts costs and strains services to residents.
Tax hikes seem inevitable.
Desperate street scenes
The recent scene of scores of migrants sleeping on the streets outside the storied Roosevelt Hotel on Madison Avenue, which the city is leasing, is a nightmare for tourism and local businesses.
Then there’s the education system.
The Post reports that the overwhelming majority of 19,000 public-school students living in temporary housing are asylum-seekers, yet principals and parents say they received no instructions from the Department of Education about which kids are coming to which schools.
Although classes start Sept. 7, a deputy mayor told The Post that decisions would be made “in the next two weeks.”
Still unresolved is the mayor’s call for the governor to force counties outside the city to provide free housing for migrants.
He wants her to issue emergency orders overriding local objections, a move the governor, who spent most of her life upstate, rejects.
“Putting someone in a hotel on a dark, lonely road in upstate New York and telling them they’re supposed to survive is not compassion,” Hochul said during a radio interview.
Clever, but hardly convincing.
The truth is that Hochul knows she would be a political dead duck if she forced other areas to repeat New York City’s disastrous experience.
So the city alone will continue to house and care for every migrant who arrives, meaning an already staggering problem is guaranteed to get much worse.
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