Running a major U.S. city is never easy. But throw in a surge of migrants, and several of the largest urban centers are now at a breaking point. The mayors of Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York are planning to head to Washington to press the White House on receiving federal help to manage the surge of migrants that are arriving in their respective cities.
The Democratic mayors – who had welcomed migrants into their “sanctuary cities” – are now requesting that the Joe Biden administration provide them with billions of dollars in federal aid to help support the new arrivals. In a letter first obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, they expressed appreciation for what the White House has provided to date but argued that much more needs to be done to ease the burden on their cities.
Joe Biden Comes to the Rescue?
President Joe Biden had already requested that Congress appropriate $1.4 billion to help state and local governments provide food, shelter, and other services for the migrants, but now the coalition of mayors is seeking far more – upwards of $5 billion.
“Cities have historically absorbed and integrated new migrants with success, but the challenges brought by the new border arrivals are due not only to the high numbers but also the diversity of nationalities, the large share arriving as families, and the overwhelming number who seek asylum. Given the impact this crisis has had—and continues to have—on state and local budgets we respectfully advocate for additional funding,” the letter read.
It further noted that Denver is spending upwards of $2 million on shelter, New York has surpassed $1.7 billion in spending, and Chicago has spent more than $320 million to date. The mayors argued that relying on municipal budgets was not sustainable and that it would result in a cut to essential city services.
The requested $5 billion would cover the expenditures the cities have already incurred as well as continue to provide the services to the growing number of people arriving in the respective communities.
The letter was signed by Mayors Mike Johnston of Denver, Eric Adams of New York, Karen Bass of Los Angeles, Brandon Johnson of Chicago, and Sylvester Turner of Houston
Political Issue for Joe Biden
The border crisis is certain to be a major campaign issue heading into next year’s primaries. Republicans have universally criticized Biden, who they claim has been too soft on border security and is allowing too many people to enter the United States.
Republican Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida had resorted to busing migrants to the Democratic-led so-called sanctuary cities that include New York and Chicago, where laws are more favorable to noncitizens.
One issue noted by The Associated Press is that the nationalities of migrants have changed dramatically. In the past, migrants would be picked up by nonprofit groups before going to stay with a relative already in the U.S.
But today many have no place to go and are overwhelming city services.
At the same time, winning asylum can be a long and difficult process – where migrants can wait up to a decade for a court date. They are often then released in the U.S. to wait, but only some are eligible to work. There are now concerns that as cities such as New York seek to ease the work authorizations that will only encourage more people to make the journey to the U.S.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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