New York City is home to many famous landmarks and attractions, such as Times Square, Wall Street and New York-style pizza. Yet what people associate with New York today is the migrant crisis, a growing and complex problem with statewide consequences.
Since the spring of 2022, more than 116,100 migrants have flooded into the state. The lack of planning by Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams has resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis and a strain on public resources. Our local communities are shouldering the burden of providing essential services such as health care, education and social services to migrants and their families, stretching their resources thin.
This crisis isn’t just a federal issue; it affects every corner of our state. From Long Island to Buffalo, from the five boroughs to the North Country, its consequences are felt by our citizens, our communities and our local governments. The humanitarian challenges and security concerns stemming from the influx of migrants at our borders and throughout our state demand immediate and comprehensive attention.
We must convene a special session of the State Legislature to address this crisis, and act now to protect the interests of our state and its residents. Protecting our communities and upholding the principles of compassion and humanitarianism are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, neither of these standards is currently being met.
The Assembly’s Republican conference has been calling for these actions for several months, but has been met with silence. Even more troublesome, federal and state leaders continue to dance around the problem with backward approaches such as offering nearly a half-million Venezuelan migrants legal status and work permits. We don’t want immigrants sitting idly, but there must be a process in place to ensure that public safety and resources are maintained.
Ed Ra, who represents the 19th Assembly District, is the ranking Republican on the Assembly Ways & Means Committee.