Migrants First, Everyone Else Last

Migrants First, Everyone Else Last
Security stands at the doors of The Crossroads Hotel, where two busloads of illegal immigrants arrived hours earlier, in Newburgh, N.Y., on May 11, 2023. (John Minchillo/AP Photo)
Betsy McCaughey

Democrats’ new rule: If you’re not a migrant, go to the back of the line.

Gary Moretti and his fiancée booked 30 rooms at The Crossroads Hotel in Newburgh, New York, for their bridesmaids and guests for a June 24 wedding. But New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s migrant-first policy demolished their plans.

Over the past two weeks, Adams has rolled out a scheme to bus hundreds of migrants to upscale motels in Newburgh, Orangetown, and Yonkers, pleading that New York City is out of space. It didn’t matter that many of the motel rooms were already occupied or booked. Money talks. New York City pays above-market rates to house migrants, averaging $8,000 per room per month, taxpayers be damned. The motels acted fast to clear their rooms.

“We had a legal contract to have those rooms,” Moretti said.

People staying at the Ramada Inn in Yonkers were told to clear out as well. Up to 100 migrant families are expected there within a week. Savannah Harp, who’s been living there with her 18-month-old son, resents that she’s had to pay for her room, while the migrants displacing her will get rooms for free.

Big city Democrats like Adams give migrants top priority. Protest and you’re called “racist” or “xenophobic.”

Even so, some local leaders are fighting back against Adams’s takeover of hotels and motels in their counties.

Rockland and Orange counties are in court, arguing that Adams doesn’t have the right to set up shelters outside New York City.

Other counties are putting Adams on notice to not even try it.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, a Republican, made it clear, “We are not a sanctuary county.”

The battle unfolding in New York will likely be repeated in many locales. Connecticut alerted towns to prepare for migrants.

The immigration industrial complex—a web of Democratic politicians, immigration lawyers, and nonprofits that survive on public funding—pushes relentlessly for more money and more “rights” for migrants.

Adams plans to house migrants in upstate hotels and motels for up to four months, with shuttle service provided three times a day to wherever they want to go. What a deal.

Democrats promised migrants sanctuary from immigration law enforcement, luxury accommodations, three meals a day, and health and legal services. Now, they express surprise at the deluge of people heading to New York City and insist that all counties share the burden.

The New York Civil Liberties Union is suing Rockland and Orange counties, claiming that the counties’ resistance amounts to “xenophobic harassment and discrimination.” That’s a cheap shot and untrue.

It’s not about race. It’s about money. Caring for migrants will force counties to cut services to their own residents.

Adams’s city budget for the coming fiscal year is proof. It cuts every department, including police protection and education, to offset spending on migrants.

The generous handouts to migrants are also causing resentment.

A Hispanic American woman from Port Chester, New York, who has three kids and works cleaning houses said she’s furious to see migrants getting free housing. Why not her family, she asks.

Where is New York’s governor, Kathy Hochul? Mostly MIA. Her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, said Hochul should “come down here and pick up these people and disperse them across the state.” That’s ridiculous.

The answer isn’t to foist the problem on other communities. It’s to stop making New York a magnet for migrants.

Democrats don’t get that. Last week, Adams announced that the landmark Roosevelt Hotel on 45th Street and Vanderbilt Avenue will become the city’s migrant welcoming center and large shelter. Movies such as “The French Connection” and “Wall Street” were filmed there. The lobby is exquisite. A security guard told the New York Post that “the migrants are going to think they came to, like, Hollywood or something.”

Upscale lodging—whether it’s in Manhattan or along the Hudson—encourages migrants to make New York their destination. Worse, it sends a message to the rest of us, including Gary Moretti and his bride, that we’re saps.

Tell Adams to house migrants in barracks and tents and provide only bare necessities. Be humane but not stupid.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., is a political commentator, constitutional expert, syndicated columnist, and author of several books, including “The Obama Health Law: What It Says and How to Overturn It” and “The Next Pandemic.” She is also a former lieutenant governor of New York.
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