Liberal cities, including sanctuary cities that limit federal immigration enforcement, are dealing with massive costs from the flood of migrants hitting their cities from the southern border, and they are hoping the federal government will shoulder the burden.
The migrant crisis has been ravaging the border since early 2021, but this year has seen record highs, with a monthly record of encounters in September. Fiscal Year 2023 broke records for encounters at the southern border as well.
But as border communities continue to get hit, migrants have also been moving in massive numbers deeper into the interior. Some are moving on their own accord, while others receive transportation assistance from the Texas state government and non-governmental organizations.
The hardest-hit city has been New York City, which has seen more than 140,000 migrants come through its system. The Big Apple offers a robust social service network and a “right to shelter.”
Approximately 25,000 of those migrants have been bussed in by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has warned that the crisis could “destroy” the city and the impact of the crisis was on display last month when the city announced that there will be deep cuts this fiscal year, due to the city having spent $1.45 billion in FY 23.
But those costs are set to escalate significantly, according to the administration, with nearly $11 billion expected to be spent in the next two fiscal years.
“Migrant costs are going up, tax revenue growth is slowing, and COVID stimulus funding is drying up,” he said, announcing the numbers.
As a result, New York’s Police Department will freeze hiring to bring numbers below 30,000 by the end of fiscal year 2025 from over 33,000. There will also be deep cuts to education, including the universal pre-kindergarten program, and sanitation.
Adams renewed calls for federal help, although the federal government has repeatedly noted that it has provided hundreds of millions in dollars in assistance as well as teams of experts to identify improvements and to aid with asylum and work claims.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, the Windy City is projecting that the migrant crisis will cost taxpayers over $300 million between January and December 2023. Mayor Brandon Johnson, who campaigned on strengthening protections for those in the county illegally, said that the burden for paying for it should not be on residents.
“The $40 million that it’s costing the City of Chicago every single month to provide care for these individuals who are seeking asylum, that is not sustainable,” he said last month, according to CBS News.
Johnson has also claimed that he “inherited” the crisis from his predecessor.
“Look, the international crisis that I inherited six months ago, I’ve made it very clear that we are going to make sure that we remove people out of police districts: women, children who are living on floors and sleeping outside, that we’re going to create spaces that provide more dignity,” Johnson said Tuesday.
Denver, which is not technically a sanctuary city, has also been struggling with costs. At least $25 million has been spent dealing with migrants as of September. And last month, authorities confirmed that Denver had also spent more than $4 million transporting more than 12,000 migrants out of state.
The White House has called for additional aid from Congress to help with the crisis, with $1.4 billion of the White House’s $14 billion ask for supplemental border funding earmarked for cities and communities.
But with budgets straining, the mayors of Denver, Chicago and New York, as well as Los Angeles and Houston, have said it isn’t enough and want more from federal taxpayers. They want a massive $5 billion in additional aid.
“Our cities need additional resources that far exceed the amount proposed in order to properly care for the asylum seekers entering our communities,” the mayors said in a recent letter to President Biden. “Relying on municipal budgets is not sustainable and has forced us to cut essential city services.”
The requested aid would help to construct living facilities, assist in transporting the migrants and accelerate the processing of new migrants into their systems.
Negotiations for supplemental funding are ongoing, but Republicans have called for additional border security funding instead. However, some Democrats in the Senate have said that any restrictions on asylum must be accompanied by an amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.