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Sanctuary Cities Crack Down On Shelter Programs After Rolling Out Red Carpet For Illegal Migrants

Democratic mayors who initially pitched their cities as welcoming havens for undocumented immigrants have scrambled to scale back key shelter programs as they grapple with mounting costs and community backlash.

New York City, Chicago and Denver, all self-described “sanctuary” jurisdictions for foreigners living in the U.S. illegally, have made policy shifts on migrant shelters in recent months as local governments struggle with the economic impact of large numbers of illegal immigrants. In total, taxpayers have paid well over $1 billion to house and feed hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past few years, according to spending reviews. (Related article: CBO points out that Biden's plan to subsidize health care costs for illegal immigrants would increase the budget deficit by billions of dollars)

“I've never faced a problem in my life that had no end in sight. There's no end in sight to this problem,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a town hall meeting in September 2023, lamenting that at the time, the city was accepting “up to 10,000 immigrants a month.”

“This problem will devastate New York City,” he continued. “Every community in this city will be affected. We have to reduce our $12 billion deficit. Every service in this city will be affected.”

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 05, 2022: New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally in New York City on November 5, 2022. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Since spring 2022, more than 200,000 immigrants have flocked to New York City. according to City officials say the influx of immigrants forced Mayor Adams to declare a 5% cut to the government programs and services budget in September 2023 to cover housing and other services, and in August he said the city was reaching a “breaking point” due to the sheer volume of immigrants.

New York spent $1.45 billion on immigration in fiscal year 2023. according to The financial strain ultimately forced New York City to tighten restrictions on shelter stays.

Migrants living in shelters are ordered to leave after 30 days and cannot reapply, but Governor Adams' March order allows exceptions for health conditions and “extenuating circumstances.” Migrants under the age of 23 are allowed to remain in the shelter system for 60 days, and exceptions are made for immigrant families.

When Texas began bussing migrants into New York City in early 2022, the mayor seemed unconcerned and welcoming. Media Coverage.

“This is a right-to-shelter state, and we will continue to do that,” Adams said in August 2022. “New York is a city that has always represented our democratic values ​​and the values ​​of our city of showing compassion, and that's what we're doing here today.”

Mayor Adams became the first of several major city mayors to announce a shift in immigration protection policies.

“Without the support of Congress, this is an unsustainable mission,” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said at a June press conference as he defended his mayor's decision to remove migrants from taxpayer-funded shelters. “Of course, Congress has not responded to President Biden's leadership and refused to enact substantive immigration reform policy, because that's what we really need.”

Chicago has taken in more than 43,000 migrants since August 2022 and has spent about $150 million so far to feed and shelter them. according to According to the Chicago Tribune, the financial situation has become so bad that the city At one point It faced a $538 million budget shortfall, $200 million of which was directly related to the migrant crisis.

In response, the city instituted a new 60-day shelter policy for most adult migrants, forcing many to seek refuge elsewhere; by mid-June, about 1,000 migrants had been removed from the shelter system. according to On-site report.

Chicago leaders appear poised to get the situation at migrant shelters under control as they prepare for the Democratic National Convention in August. according to On-site report.

A few months ago, Johnson Urged President Joe Biden called for Illinois to issue work permits to the roughly 500,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state, and the mayor also said at the time that Chicago could take in an additional 400,000 to 700,000 undocumented immigrants.

Top Shot-Mexico-US-Haiti-Immigration

TOP SHOT – Haitian migrants continue to cross the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande River, seen from Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico, on September 19, 2021. (Photo: Paul Lache/AFP) (Photo: Paul Lache/AFP via Getty Images)

Since December 2022, the Denver metropolitan area has welcomed more than 42,000 immigrants from Central and South America. according to The Common Sense Institute estimates that Denver taxpayers and other local organizations have spent as much as $340 million to provide them with food, clothing, housing and other services.

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced significant budget cuts earlier this year, including an $8.4 million cut to the city's police department and $2.5 million cut to the fire department, in order to fully fund immigrant services.

In the wake of severe budget cuts and community backlash, Denver announced it would close four migrant shelters, saving the city tens of millions of dollars. according to Axios. The city is now Record low Number of immigrants.

Earlier this year, the mayor How-to Guides About how the city can be more welcoming to undocumented immigrants (who the mayor's office calls “newcomers”).

The policy shifts in New York, Chicago and Denver came even though those three jurisdictions are self-described “sanctuary” cities, places that welcome people who are in the country illegally. The Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that advocates for stricter immigration standards and tracks sanctuary areas, said: All three As a sanctuary city, it has enacted policies that impede the ability of federal immigration authorities to arrest illegal immigrants. (Related: 'Sanctuary' state governor tells illegal immigrants not to come: 'We don't have enough places to shelter')

“Hypocritical mayors across the country were happy to tout their sanctuary city status until Texas bused a combined total of more than 119,000 immigrants into their declared sanctuary cities,” Andrew Maharelis, a spokesman for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“These cities are dealing with just a fraction of the issues our small border communities deal with every day,” Maharelis continued.

Texas makes up a large portion of the U.S.-Mexico border and is enduring unprecedented impacts from the ongoing migrant crisis. Abbott said the Biden administration has failed to address the crisis. Operation Lone StarThis includes unilateral border patrols, cracking down on illegal immigration in the state, and busing immigrants to self-declared sanctuary cities.

Abbott's office has said busing to those cities will continue until Biden gets serious about controlling the southern border.

“The real crisis is not in these big cities, it's on our southern border, where President Biden's open border policies are allowing record numbers of illegal immigrants, deadly drugs like fentanyl, and weapons into our state and country,” Maharelis said. “Until President Biden stands up and does his job, Texas will continue to bus migrants into sanctuary cities to relieve our overcrowded and overwhelmed border towns.”

Officials in New York City, Chicago and Denver did not respond to requests for comment from the DCNF.

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