Immigrant Crisis Leaves New York City in a State of Self-Doubt

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Whether it’s to escape persecution or improve their economic status, immigrants are fleeing to New York in hopes of living the American dream. They seek the same precious values that have attracted world citizens for decades: freedom, liberty, and opportunity. Since last year, 110,000  immigrants have made their way to the United States’ most populous city; however, once they arrive, they face the challenges of locating shelter, managing low wages, and navigating language barriers. Undocumented immigrants even face the prospect of both deportation and exploitation. Yet, despite the risk, they chose NYC because of its tradition of welcoming immigrants and its declaration some years ago as a proud “Sanctuary City.” Now, questions arise as individuals wonder if they meant it or if it was just a cheap political act.

Recently, New York City residents and immigrants seeking aid have witnessed the true scarcity of resources. The Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, which acts as a relief center for immigrants seeking asylum, recently reached capacity, forcing individuals to remain on the sidewalks until space becomes available. On August 2nd, a major news station captured a heartbreaking image of Immigrants sleeping on the streets of Manhattan with nowhere to turn. While shelter is prioritized for children and families, others are left searching for comfort on sidewalks and park benches. And, despite efforts to aid everyone, resources continue to grow more limited.

Addressing the crisis, Mayor Eric Adams made the bold yet necessary statement, “This issue will destroy New York City.” He recognizes that New York continues to pour resources into housing, food, shelter, education (21,000 children of newly arrived immigrants entered NYC schools this month), and healthcare. They need help to meet the financial demands presented by the increasing influx of immigrants. To adequately provide aid without using up the city’s resources, Adams continued to seek additional federal funding. However, this has led to a rise in tension between the Biden administration and the New York City Mayor.

It is essential to recognize that the crisis is far from over and will continue to cause financial strain and mass protests without a long-term solution. Demonstrations have become a regular occurrence as New Yorkers grow irritated by the reallocation of resources. Most recently, St. John Villa Academy’s transformation from a former catholic school to a shelter has led Manhattan’s citizens to gather in protest. Without federal and state government intervention, city residents will continue to present opposition, and it can quickly proliferate and serve to divide us even further. Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue their passions without the fear of persecution. America and Americans can benefit significantly from our immigrant brothers and sisters. There are thousands of unfilled jobs in the city, and most are in Leisure, hospitality, and healthcare. If the work permit process was expedited, every immigrant that’s here would have a job and would be paying taxes. We need workers to strengthen our economy and secure the thousands of jobs begging to be filled. 

On a grander note, we need comprehensive immigration reform and move the issue from crisis management to a fair system of strict rules but with compassion and respect for families. The United States must work together with other nations to address the immigration crisis as a whole rather than New York or other states and big cities. New Yorkers must examine their own conscience. Did they mean it, or was the Sanctuary City designation just an act of political hubris?

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