Updated Aug 4, 2023, 7:23am EDT

Democrats press Biden to resolve New York’s migrant crisis

REUTERS/Mike Segar

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The News

New York’s Democratic delegation is increasingly torn between protecting President Biden and pressuring him to act on the recent influx of migrant people to New York City.

“Folks had been focused in D.C. for the last three weeks, and then they showed up home, and they’re like, ‘Oh shit,’” a Democratic aide told Semafor, citing images of migrants sleeping outside a Manhattan hotel.

About a half-dozen House Democrats are leading on the issue, including Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., who has repeatedly pushed the administration on everything from expediting work permits to extending temporary legal status to migrants from specific countries.

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Kadia’s view

There’s no easy way to resolve the conflict. Local Democrats want the administration to make it easier for asylum-seekers to quickly get authorization to work while they await their immigration cases, taking the burden off the city and state to support them. But the White House fears that faster work authorization would inspire more border crossings.

Short of work authorization, lawmakers are also clashing with the administration over declaring a state of emergency, which would come with federal resources. But it’s unclear how Biden could justify making the designation for New York, an interior blue state, over a red border state like Texas.


It’s already a sore subject on the border.

“The reason the money is going to New York is because the Speaker of the House is from New York, and the leader of the United States Senate is from New York,” Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema said recently (incorrectly referring to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries as the Speaker).

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The View From Republicans

Republicans blame Democrats and New York City leaders for passing laws that make the area more appealing to migrants, like the city’s “right to shelter,” which is unique among major American cities.

“‘You break it, you bought it’ should not only apply to retail shoppers but to those governments who approve these asinine laws,” Rep. Nick LaLota, D-N.Y., told Semafor, referring to “sanctuary city” provisions that prohibit state and local officials from coordinating with immigration authorities on deportations.

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  • A federal appeals court approved a request to keep Biden’s border restrictions in place on Tuesday while the policy makes its way through the judicial system.