“Hostile environment”: NYC in chaos as migrant crisis fueled by controversial Texas measure escalates


More than three years ago, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star, a set of measures aimed at curbing the record-high influx of migrants trying to enter the country through the Lone Star State. One of the most controversial measures, which is still in place, is busing migrants from Texas to sanctuary states and cities. Since this measure was launched, Texas has transported more than 150,000 people out of state, putting a lot of pressure on several cities that have to handle thousands of migrants and have to pay millions of dollars each month to cover their basic needs.

The details

Texas has so far spent well over $150 million busing migrants to Democrat-led cities, with about $550,000 raised via private donations for the program. According to the latest details about the numbers provided by Gov. Abbott’s office in March, just under 40,000 migrants were transported to New York City alone. Recently, Abbott confirmed his commitment to continue sending migrants to NYC in the coming period, further worsening the migrant crisis local leaders face.

Proactive measures

More than 200,000 asylum seekers have come through the city’s intake system since the migrant crisis began in the spring of 2022. This has created financial struggles for the city, while local residents are increasingly concerned for their safety. Additionally, the city has been constantly working in recent months to change some of the laws and measures in place, including how long migrants can use the shelters provided by the city. However, New York City still faces huge problems with the influx of migrants, and there doesn’t seem to be a solution on the horizon.

Recent protests

Last week, more than 500 migrant day laborers gathered in New York City to demonstrate against what they describe as a growing “hostile environment.” This hostility stems from recent legislation and proposals focused on reducing the number of migrants coming to the U.S. and removing those who are here illegally. The protest, organized by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), started at Herald Square in Manhattan. Participants included laborers from distant states like California, Texas, and Florida, who marched to a nearby migrant shelter.

Read also: California is giving undocumented migrants even more rights: “The opportunity to succeed”

More than 500 migrant day laborers gathered in New York City to demonstrate against what they describe as a growing "hostile environment."
Migrants in Texas boarding on a bus. Credit: Deposit Photos

Criticizing the measures against immigration

Pablo Alvarado, the leader of NDLON, commented on how these policies also raise discrimination against lower-wage workers. He pointed out legislation from Republican-controlled states like Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, which permit local police to detain migrants who are in the country without legal permission.

Alvarado also expressed disapproval of President Joe Biden for signing an executive order. This order restricts asylum requests for individuals caught illegally crossing the southern border if the number of daily illegal crossings exceeds 2,500, except under specific circumstances.

“He did it because of political cowardice and that’s weakness. If he thinks that will get him more votes or convince extremist Republicans, he’s wrong,” he said in a speech at the beginning of the event, according to EFE news agency. “It’s not a good political message nor a good message for immigrants.”

Read also: Speaker Johnson silent on Trump’s border bill sabotage while Texas and California fight illegal immigration on their own

More than 500 migrant day laborers gathered in New York City to demonstrate against what they describe as a growing "hostile environment."
Migrants in NYC. Credit: Deposit Photos

The executive order

The Department of Homeland Security handles around 4,000 asylum-seekers each day. However, under President Biden’s new executive order, the U.S. will temporarily stop accepting asylum applications at the southern border when daily applications exceed 2,500.

This limitation will be lifted once the number of migrants crossing daily drops below 1,500 for a consecutive week. Critics argue that Biden’s immigration strategy falls short of addressing the influx at the southern border, while others highlight potential human rights issues for those seeking asylum under these conditions.

Additionally, three enforcement agents reported to NBC News that there is uncertainty about how to proceed with deporting thousands of migrants whose home countries, including Venezuela and China, refuse to take them back.

DHS says a help is coming soon

Several Department of Homeland Security officials, who chose to remain anonymous, expressed worries that detention centers and migrant processing facilities might soon be overwhelmed due to recent policies. These concerns remain largely unresolved.

However, at a press conference last week, Homeland Security officials announced that additional resources would be deployed to the border soon. They explained that the new measures are expected to cut down the processing time for migrants by 30 to 45 minutes, potentially easing the burden on holding facilities.

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