Def Sanctuary City: domicile that turns away those seeking sanctuary?
Keep the faith guys. Don't worry, you're a great City and this will blow over. Just kidding. You're so f-cked.
Hey, wait a minute. You need Bon Jovi!
Eric Adams and the Self-Imposed Crisis of a Sanctuary City
High-tax, overregulated New York is too costly for the middle class and now asks migrants to stay away.
By Allysia Finley, WSJ
Aug. 13, 2023 4:31 pm ET
New York politicians often believe the rest of the country cares about their problems. But the only time most people give a thought to the Empire State’s largely self-inflicted woes is when they relish the schadenfreude of seeing progressives pay for misguided policies. The Big Apple’s migrant mess is a case in point.
Mayor Eric Adams last week groused that local hotels and shelters are overrun with migrants whose care will cost the city about $5 billion this fiscal year. As New York politicians do, he’s begging the feds and ordinary city-dwellers to open their wallets. “This is not Mayor Adams’s job. This is the job of the people of the city of New York,” he said last week. “We need every New Yorker that has something to offer to play a role.”
Apparently, paying the nation’s highest taxes isn’t enough. Mr. Adams recently floated the idea of sheltering migrants in private homes. How rich considering that city regulations set to take effect next month will effectively prohibit New Yorkers from renting out their apartments on Airbnb. The home-sharing site estimates the new “de facto ban” will eliminate 95% of its revenue in the city.
Naturally, the result will be higher demand and prices for rooms at hotels, including those where the city is paying $256 a night on average to shelter migrant families. Some hotels, like a Holiday Inn Express in Brooklyn, are making upward of $300 a night housing migrants. This doesn’t include the cost of food, medical care and social services, which adds another $127 a day per migrant family.
A New Yorker would have to make around $280,000 a year before taxes to afford what the city is spending on each migrant family. No wonder they’re coming by the bus load.
Gone are the days of styling New York as a sanctuary city. Mr. Adams is now telling migrants to stay away. “Please consider another city as you make your decision about where to settle in the US,” says a flier that the city plans to distribute at the U.S.-Mexico border.
New York’s wealthy might sympathize. Mr. Adams once promised to make them feel welcome. “I want my high-income earners right here in this city,” he told a crowd of business people last year. Yet the city hasn’t done anything to make them want to stay, and they keep fleeing to states with lower taxes and safer streets.
Maybe the migrants will also eventually decamp to Florida when they can’t find adequate employment in New York’s overregulated and overtaxed economy.
Given the city’s mass exodus—more than 500,000 people left between April 2020 and July 2022—you’d think it would be able to accommodate the 100,000 or so migrants who have arrived since last spring. The trouble is that the rich who have left have taken jobs with them.
Mr. Adams complains that migrants have to wait five months before applying for work permits, so they must live on the government dole until then or work in the underground economy. Undocumented immigrants have traditionally been able to find jobs off the books as nannies, housekeepers or day laborers, but it’s become harder in the absence of many high-earning families.
Even when migrants get work permits, they still may struggle to find jobs. New York City’s economy never fully recovered from its prolonged Covid lockdowns and in recent months has shown signs of weakening. Its unemployment rate in June was 5.4% compared with a national average of 3.6% and 1.8% in Miami.
Mr. Adams can’t blame migrants for that. Unemployment in Hidalgo County, Texas, along the Mexican border, has returned to pre-pandemic levels, and overall employment is 7.3% higher than before the pandemic. New York City’s employment is still 3.5% lower. Employers aren’t adding enough jobs to absorb the influx of migrants.
Even with a job, migrants will have to contend with sky-high rents, which have climbed 20% to 30% since 2019. The median rent was $4,400 in Manhattan last month and only slightly lower in Brooklyn ($3,950) and northwest Queens ($3,641), according to a survey last week.
Brokers blame the state’s 2019 tightening of rent control for spurring landlords to remove from the market tens of thousands of units that have become unprofitable. The apartments now sit empty. Perhaps the city will offer to pay these landlords market rate to shelter migrants. If only this were a joke.
Meantime, to prevent evictions from soaring rents, the City Council last month voted to expand housing vouchers, which will cost as much as $36 billion over five years. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli last week warned the city could face a $40 billion budget shortfall over the next three years—most of which doesn’t stem from costs of caring for migrants.
What Mr. Adams wants is for Americans in the rest of the country to help underwrite the city’s progressive folly. Sorry, not our job.