Hochul finally recognizes the migrant crisis

Senator Jack Martins

Originally published in LI Herald on .

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s mirror must be broken. In a mind-boggling television appearance last week, she finally acknowledged that the migrant crisis was “a real problem,” but then cleverly shifted blame to Congress for not limiting who can cross the border. She completely misunderstands the situation, or willfully misrepresents it. In either case, she fails to acknowledge that she’s largely responsible for this mess.

It’s not as if the suburbs haven’t already suffered from her failed policies. Cashless bail, rising crime, and a half-baked accessory housing plan have left Long Islanders reeling. But no problems are as pressing today as the migrant crisis now overwhelming New York.

So, let’s be clear about its origins. By executive order, and without legislation, the governor declared New York a “sanctuary” state. Not one to be out-virtue signaled, New York City Mayor Eric Adams then doubled down with the city’s “right to shelter” policy. The resulting disaster was predictable. More than 100,000 migrants poured in seeking help, and chaos ensued.

The governor then declared a state of emergency, marshaled over $2 billion in taxpayer funds for the effort, and even mobilized the National Guard, fully conceding that things were out of control. Yet despite all this — despite daily reports from overwhelmed neighborhoods, despite thousands of New Yorkers raising their voices in protest — she changed nothing. Even now, she refuses to take the most obvious course of action: to rescind our sanctuary status and enforce existing laws.

Imagine you came home and found a busted pipe flooding your kitchen. You could, of course, call a plumber, grab some buckets and start mopping up, but the very first thing you should do is close the valve and stop the flow. That’s common sense.

Rather than embrace this approach, Hochul vilifies those who encourage it by falsely accusing them of intolerance. The truth is, she lacks the political conviction to challenge other members of her party, and instead foists the burden of their failed policy onto us. She asks struggling taxpayers to fund it, residents to absorb tent cities with thousands of unvetted migrants, and our already underfunded schools to absorb the overflow under threat of prosecution. All this while she ignores the needs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, who still live on our streets.

The billions of dollars that have been spent thus far on this irresponsible stance, and the billions more that will be spent, come at the expense of every New Yorker who must look elsewhere for help. Our limited resources are being siphoned off on what is a self-created crisis. As a state senator, I can assure you that Hochul and the legislative majority are diverting funds from schools, veterans, seniors, special-needs populations, and families struggling to make ends meet.

New Yorkers are among the most generous and welcoming people in the world, time and again opening our hearts and wallets to help our neighbors. We maintain one of the most expansive safety-net programs in the country, and routinely answer the call to aid the less fortunate, but this political folly puts our state on the verge of insolvency. Hochul is aware that New York is now looking at years of deficits, and that continuing this foolish trajectory makes that fiscal abyss that much deeper.

The governor and mayor alone chose sanctuary status, putting out a welcome mat for every migrant who arrives in this country. They chose virtue signaling over good government, and so must bear the consequences. That in no way affords them the luxury of transferring their fiasco to our suburban communities.

Until Hochul reverses our sanctuary-state designation, nobody will take her television soliloquies seriously. We will see them for what they are: mere lip service to protect vulnerable candidates as election season approaches.