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The collapse of New York’s immigration dream The city's 'right to shelter' is swiftly unravelling

A sits outside of processing centre in NYC (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A sits outside of processing centre in NYC (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


November 2, 2023   5 mins

New York has always been powered by immigration. Over the 20th century, it was the Irish who built the subways and the Greeks who ran the supermarkets; now, Colombians watch over our children and Bangladeshis drive the cabs. Yet in the past three years, something has gone wrong with the city’s approach to immigration. Gone are the days of immigrants flocking to take part in New York’s booming economy. Today, the only thing drawing potentially unlimited people to this stagnant city is the government’s promise of a “right to shelter”.

Six years ago, few would have cast the presence of illegal migrants as a crisis. Illegal immigrants came to New York to work; their workforce participation rate was nearly 78%, compared to 63% for legal migrants, and 65% for natural-born citizens. Immigrants made up more than one-third of New York’s construction workers and a quarter of dishwashers, cooks, maids, and housekeepers. The fact that illegal migrants weren’t allowed to work wasn’t an impediment: domestic workers and gardeners could ask the families who hired them to pay in cash, and large parts of the construction and restaurant industry weren’t too troubled about paying workers under the table. For this reason, while all immigrant children could go to school and get healthcare, adult illegal immigrants weren’t a drain on the social safety net: federal law made them ineligible for food stamps, public housing, and non-emergency healthcare.

Between 1980 and 2019, newcomers were fully aware of this, and quickly learned that, to blend in, they had to obey the law. The city wouldn’t ask anyone for their immigration status — but it would arrest and charge people for small crimes, from petty theft to dealing drugs. Nor would New York much put up with lower-level disorder, from smoking marijuana in parks to camping out in a subway station. This crackdown, which began in the early Nineties, resulted in a fall in major crimes from more than half a million incidents annually to fewer than 100,000 by 2019. Immigrants came to a safe city, and they understood their role in abiding by its laws.

Theoretically, newly arrived migrants were eligible for one city-funded benefit: the city’s unique “right to shelter”. In 1979, a lawsuit was brought against the city by advocates for homeless people, who charged that the state constitution, under a provision requiring care for the “needy”, guaranteed a right to adequate housing. The state’s high court never ruled on this “right”; instead, Mayor Edward I. Koch decided to settle it, agreeing that the city would shelter all adult men who were homeless by reason of “physical, mental or social dysfunction”.

Over the decades, further advocacy litigation spurred new city agreements that expanded the right to shelter. Yet no one in city government, the advocacy world, or the media can recall large numbers of newly arrived migrants showing up looking for city shelter. (Until last year, the city didn’t record the immigration status of homeless shelter residents.) Just as immigrants, whether legal or illegal, didn’t come to New York unless they had a job lined up, or the possibility of finding one, nor did they come unless they had housing lined up — usually a room or part of a room in a cut-up apartment building in the Bronx, Queens, or Brooklyn.

Today, this is no longer the case. The right-to-shelter safety net is now drawing hundreds of thousands of people to the city — many of whom have little chance of finding a job. New York is treating this new surge of migrants as a crisis, with Mayor Eric Adams repeatedly saying that uncontrolled migration will “destroy New York City”. But is this a fair analysis?

Let’s start with the numbers. It took New York nearly 40 years to absorb 500,000 unauthorised migrants into its private-sector economy. The city estimates that over the past year, 122,700 people, or a quarter of that previous total, have visited a city “intake centre”. (The city government calls these newcomers “asylum seekers”, but most have not applied for asylum, and most will not be eligible.)

And even this figure is likely an undercount. With more than six million “border encounters” between migrants and federal officials during the Biden administration, and with most people “encountered” immediately released into the country, it is highly likely that additional tens of thousands of newcomers have made their way to New York and simply disappeared somewhere.

The crisis began last spring when Texas Governor Greg Abbott, responding to the Biden administration’s open-border policy, bussed recent border-crossers north to highlight his own state’s woes; the aim was to build greater political support for a return to Trump-era restrictions. Adams, instead, tried to prove wrong Abbott’s insistence that the higher numbers were a problem. He began by setting up 17 “welcome centres” near key transit hubs, including the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Grand Central Terminal, to purposely invite new migrants to take advantage of New York’s on-demand shelter. The city also started to convert dozens of hotels, including prime Manhattan properties, into shelters.

Within a few months, a wave of new migrants had doubled the city’s shelter population. As of mid-October 2023, its taxpayers were housing more than 64,000 “asylum seekers”, in City Hall’s terminology, within a total shelter population of 116,700; in just one week in late September, 3,700 “asylum seekers” were registered. The Adams administration expects that sheltering these migrants will cost $12 billion over three years, more than the city spends on fire and sanitation services combined.

Yet it will be hard for many of these newcomers to find jobs. For the first time in four decades, New York City’s economy is not growing quickly. The city had a bad pandemic, and it is having a bad post-pandemic. New York has less than 1% more jobs than it had in 2019, compared to the nation’s overall 4% growth, the first time since the early Nineties that the city has lagged behind the nation.

There is no evidence that New York is in desperate need of tens of thousands of entry-level workers — despite the fact that certain industries prefer to keep wages as low as possible, so continue to complain about a labour shortage. The city is still missing 4%, or nearly 14,000, of its pre-Covid accommodation and food-service jobs. One sign of the shortage of jobs for new migrants is the huge number of people delivering food — historically a miserable, dangerous job, with pay less than minimum wage. (Higher pay standards only just took effect this month). If better under-the-table jobs in domestic work or restaurants were available, immigrants would not be doing deliveries.

For other reasons, too, New York is a very different city to the one it was before the pandemic. Migrants with no family or friends to help them settle in New York are landing in a city where crime and disorder are the norm, with rates of non-felony larceny already more than a quarter above 2019 figures. Illegal street vending goes unenforced, high-powered mopeds with no licence plates or insurance are driven on the sidewalk, and spending a night sitting on a curb in front of a Times Square migrant shelter blasting music and smoking pot is perfectly acceptable. You can’t blame migrants for noticing that they can get away with a lot of anti-social behaviour here; nobody is telling them to knock it off.

The result is that, despite the influx of migrants, New York has reversed its decades-long population increase, as its former residents decide to flee. Since 2020, the city has lost close to half a million people, rivalling only San Francisco in percentage loss. And what’s left behind? A city that is unable to absorb hundreds of thousands of ambitious immigrants into a growing economy, as it did between 1980 and 2019. Faced with this crisis, Adams maintains that the city’s “official position” is that “the borders should remain open”. The only thing he wants from Washington, it seems, is more money to fund the city’s shelters. But as residents start to protest, as crime rates continue to soar, Adams may find that, rather than empowering the strong city he is supposed to represent, immigration is only fuelling resentment.


Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.

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J Bryant
J Bryant
8 months ago

This article seems like a very reasonable and balanced analysis of NYC’s woes. It could have been subtitled, “Ideology Meets Reality”.
Do any Unherd commenters understand NYC politics? Is Mayor Adams likely to be reelected? Is there a political backlash brewing, or are the middle-of-the-road voters leaving the city with only the lefties remaining?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

NYC is very very blue and Adams was considered the least woke of the Democrat nominees. You never know what can happen though. They did elect Giuliani at one time.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

When I was last in NYC, I did see posters up for ‘Common Sense Democrat Party candidates’. There does seem to be some recognition that the Democrat party has been captured by leftist lunatics, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that too many Democrat voter believe that voting for Republicans is akin to voting for H**ler, therefore they will continue to vote for Democrats no matter how insane.*
*The left’s rampant antisemitism may be changing that.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

What? I would say I’m left as opposed to right and I’m not antisemitic. I thought it was the right that was antisemitic and racist i.e. conservatives, surely, who are that way.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That’s why the left are pushing for the destruction of Israel, segregated campus accommodation, segregated graduation, active discrimination against Asians and of course full on racism against whites

Simon Phillips
Simon Phillips
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That’s clearly a rhetorical question, right?

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
7 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Sarcasm or stupid?

Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The next election could be very different as in addition to migrants and crime, the Israel / Gaza war and resulting antisemitism on display at several colleges (e.g. NYU, Columbia, CUNY, etc.) may move the Jewish vote in a different direction. Or an anti-Israel candidate could win and that may change the demographic make-up of the city if more Jewish residents, then leave.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
8 months ago

Nothing will move the ‘Jewish’ vote away from Democrat Party/Socialism because most of them are secular Jews – they are culturally Jewish but not religious. The religious conservative Jewish minority centered in NYC votes Republican.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
8 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Do the secular Jews in New York necessarily support Israel ? The New York Times is not as pro Israel as it used to be , I assume

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

NYC is filled with renters who only want to criticize “THE MAN” who is white and has money it keeps to itself and won’t share. No wonder the City is salivating over the Trump prosecution. 67% of the residents of NYC rent and many of those are on rental assistance which drives up rents. I suggest that pollsters start correlating their polls with whether the respondents rent or own their own homes. The correlations would be telling. NYC is a lost cause. Why working people stay there is a mystery. I never liked Mitt Romney much but he did speak one truth – 47% of Americans are on some form of government payout and once that tops 50% the votes will always elect the standard bearer for helplessness.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 months ago

And only a very tiny percentage of very wealthy families, who live on the upper East and upper West sides, pay virtually all the income tax generated. They are moving out in droves and that city will implode without Federal help.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
8 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

I read that the city had lost $60 billion in tax revenue by folks moving out. And when sales tax is close to 10% who needs NYC when you can always find what you’re looking for with less taxes and often with a promo code. Moreover, drugstores are closing because of theft. And luxury stores moved out if the new Hudson Yards because of theft.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cathy Carron
Mike Downing
Mike Downing
8 months ago

This is just what the situation was like in Liverpool pre-Thatcher until the Council was declared bankrupt. Obviously, there was no real success in replacing all the industrial jobs that had disappeared but you can’t just print money and keep everyone on payouts.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Comparing Liverpool to NYC?!

Stephen Barnard
Stephen Barnard
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Seems very apt…

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
8 months ago

New York City subsidizes 450,000 apartments. Wrap that around your head – a city supporting an entire city.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cathy Carron
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 months ago

The authentic voice of the American Hard Right, let them suffer..

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It’s not about ‘suffering’, it’s about how much the system can take financially. And right now Mayor Adams is screaming pants-on-fire because the city will be out-of-pocket for about $12 billion for the illegals (forget about the homegrown low-income and homeless) which is why he is in Washington, D.C. this week begging for money that they federal government doesn’t really have. Uncle Sam is working overtime printing money.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cathy Carron
Alan Osband
Alan Osband
8 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Didn’t something similar happen in the late 1970s

Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

And what happens when the money runs out and the city goes bankrupt? When they discover, as many have before, that you can’t solve problems just be throwing cash at them without addressing root causes?
It won’t be the rich who suffer – they can look after themselves. No, it will be the poor, those who rely on public services and can’t lock themselves in their gated communities with their private security to escape the spiralling crime. And so the Left’s fiscally incontinent virtue signalling always hurts most the people they thought they were helping – a sad irony.

Last edited 8 months ago by Christopher Peter
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

At least this member of the vast right wing conspiracy measures the success of a society by how FEW people need government support vs. the other way round. I prefer freedom over slavery, thank you, but you are certainly entitled to believe otherwise.

Daniel P
Daniel P
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

NYC will only change its politics when it hits absolute rock bottom.

What you need to watch is what happens with black voters. If they start screaming and yelling about the issue or if they stop voting then the democrats will swing their policies, or try to. The upper middle class white vote, particularly single white women, could still force the democrats to stick to their progressive policies.

Now, if NYC seriously goes even more broke, more businesses leave, and the tax dollars dry up due to crime etc., no money for the democrat agenda, they have to start closing schools (impacting the teachers union) due to a lack of funding? THAT could cause a real shift.

But, once the damage is done, it could take 20 yrs or more to turn it back around, if it ever can. Telework and people moving out of state to warmer and more tax friendly climates may never be convinced to come back and the locals they have moved to are going to thrive and be attractive, drawing more people.

In my humble opinion, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago are in for a long, slow, and deep decline. Places like Tampa, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, are going to see the opposite.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Yep. That’s the nice thing about American federalism. Even in modern times, states and cities can deviate from or even openly defy federal policy, as Texas does bussing migrants to NYC. It is effectively a competition between them for people, businesses, and tax revenues, and every competition produces winners and losers. The winners grow and the losers stagnate. What remains to be seen is just how stubbornly some of these liberal strongholds cling to their ideology and how much losing it will take before they move in a more pragmatic direction. It may take a lot of losing for some of them to swallow the bitter pill of admitting their ideology is flawed.

T Bone
T Bone
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Have you noticed the new Progressive gaslight that we need to stop “stoking a culture war” by dividing people by Red and Blue?

Seems to be their go-to strategy whenever it becomes obvious that Progressive policies are the primary cause of dysfunction. To act like Covid, inflation, crime, foreign policies were some kind of “shared bipartisan” approach.

I also like when brand name Progressives including Obama complain about Right Wingers claiming to “own the libs on message boards.” Its hilarious in so many ways. First of all why is getting punching so far down and second; is it not an admission that the Left is out of arguments in a society that’s supposed to value debate.

Last edited 8 months ago by T Bone
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

They’re zealots who will try, say, and believe most anything to justify their ideology. They believe their beliefs put them on the side of the angels and they are justified in bending logic, science, the law, and anything else to achieve their ideological ends. They will harass, coerce, and intimidate, but never debate, because to them there is no debate. They are right and everyone else is wrong. They don’t understand why people don’t get that. They are by no means a new phenomenon. The words and values may change but the tactics and results are about the same. I regard these members of the modern left as being on about the same level as the bible thumping tea totaling old prudes who were so common in my rural area when I was younger. That group, the moralizing prohibitionists are actually just an older version of these kinds of people, and they too were called ‘progressive’ in their time. Most of the world moved on but they didn’t, can’t, and won’t. They’ll keep control of whatever they can as long as they can until they die off naturally. My county only legalized alcohol sales less than a decade ago thanks to their nonsense. Most of the rest of us will move on to other things and let them have whatever tiny fiefdoms they can browbeat into submission with their tiny minority and work around them. They could never stop people from buying alcohol elsewhere and bringing it into the county or using social clubs like the elks as de facto bars. You just try to work around them as best you can because you can’t reason or debate with a fundamentalist zealot who is committed to the idea that only their ideas are right and other ideas shouldn’t exist. That’s as true of the modern left as it is of Hamas.

Last edited 8 months ago by Steve Jolly
T Bone
T Bone
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

There is certainly overlap. I would say these people are even worse because they demand that you actively participate in your own demise. How do you get away from people that reject the entire framework of private property and think everything you do in your own space is interconnected to their right to exist? It’s like a Pantheistic Earth-Centric Spiritualism where private space is abolished in favor of Communal Rights.

I can’t put my finger on where these ideas come from haha.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Locales.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Some wonderful, comical delusions being expressed in these Comments about my city.
In re: elections, NYC is very ethnic. Jewish or Black is an advantage. A good East Asian candidate could do well. If we were much more broke than we are, a fiscal conservative would have a good shot.
And it’s a city of immigrants. Like, y’know, old people from the old country and their grand kids who secretly love Springsteen (the old stuff). There’s a lot of union members, too. So free gender bending clinics for ‘tweens and/or teeny, tiny CO2-free cars aren’t gonna get anyone elected. What you read on Twitter has nothing to do with it.
We always hate our Mayors. Just cause we elected them doesn’t mean we have to like them. Adams probably will get re-elected. A Black, immigrant, one-time union member, who loves to talk…

Last edited 8 months ago by laurence scaduto
Michelle Perez
Michelle Perez
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I have lived in NYC for 20 years. Came in right after the atrocities of 9/11 under Bloomberg. The city was clean and safe and running smoothly. Deblasio reversed all of that with his overtly marxist policies. He left a disaster for Adams who has done nothing to change anything. The voters here always vote democratic. The difference with this migrant situation(which is accurately described on all levels in this article) is that it is now “in everyone’s backyard” including the wealthy who live in the USW and UES. If this and the situation with growing anti-semitism throughout the city doesn’t change voting behavior, I don’t know what will.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

We left NYC after 35 years for the CT countryside. I don’t miss a thing and I don’t have to deal with street crime, homelessness, immigrants in the subway hawking candy bars, etc. The Stratham hotel on the Upper West Side is two blocks away from one of my daughter’s apartment- there are 500 illegals housed there now. Initially they were all men who were drinking, having sex in the median strip on Broadway, and using prostitutes who littered the neighborhood. They have since moved the single males out (to Randall’s Island – I think?) and inserted illegal migrant families, who are supposed to be ‘safer’ for the neighborhood. I worry for my daughter. Central Park at night is no longer safe to walk.
We now vote and pay taxes in CT. As a Republican, my vote means nothing in CT, just like NYC, but in my small town I can have a slight impact. The insane Covid policies took a lot out of NYC, and now with the illegal migrants flooding the system it will take at least a decade or more for the city to recover, if ever. Many Republicans have left. There is no balance to city politics; it might as well be Red China. As they say, people get what they vote for and NYC is a mess.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cathy Carron
Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
8 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Yes. For whatever reason, I cannot only reply on Unherd, not post from scratch; all I had to say was this

Reality’s a b****r, innit?

Mrs R
Mrs R
8 months ago

Mass, uncontrolled illegal immigration into Western nations has been facilitated by some who want to see said nations collapse. Nothing else makes sense.

Winston Bela
Winston Bela
8 months ago
Reply to  Mrs R

The goal is to collapse the present system so it can be replaced by a Marxist utopia.

Mrs R
Mrs R
8 months ago
Reply to  Winston Bela

No doubt that was the goal of many academics and politicians throughout the 20th century. Unfortunately for them, and sadly for all, their plan to hasten the demise of Western society by overwhelming its national identity and culture via mass, uncontrolled immigration will bring about an Islamic Caliphate not the Marxist utopia of their dreams.

Last edited 8 months ago by Mrs R
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
8 months ago
Reply to  Mrs R

Yes, it is called cultural suicide.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
8 months ago
Reply to  Mrs R

Bingo.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
8 months ago

The last time I was in NYC, 2008, it felt very safe.

I remember seeing a lone white or Latino cop approaching a group of black youths hanging round and obstructing a subway entrance on the LES of Manhattan.

“Hey come on guys, you know the rules, no hangin’ out” and they moved on with mild grumbles and it was a generally good natured encounter.

The same year I was down in Melbourne Australia where police didn’t dare speak to Somalian and Sudanese youths hanging round station entrances and people felt intimidated.

Quite a contrast.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
8 months ago

2008 NYC is not 2023 NYC – go back to visit and see for yourself.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago

How were Somali and Sudanese youth allowed to get into Australia?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

What’s that book called about a group of people who wake up after a 30 year coma?

0 0
0 0
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The morally superior virtue signaling Aussies accepting a certain number of refugees for resettlement

rob clark
rob clark
8 months ago

“Adams maintains that the city’s “official position” is that “the borders should remain open”.”
Absolutely stunning! When ideology trumps reason. But that’s OK, the feds to the rescue.

El Uro
El Uro
8 months ago

Shortly before the collapse of the USSR, its social system was called “real socialism.” In New York now we have “real communism”. Enjoy it…

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
8 months ago

New York is a thoroughly socialist state. It confiscates wealth from producers and gives it to people who don’t or can’t work in the form of food stamps and rent subsidies. As in any economy, the intervention of government drives up the cost of everything – food and shelter. No wonder there is a 67% rental rate in NYC and a 55% rental rate in the state overall. Helplessness and ignorance is enabled in every move the government makes while the roads stay congested and impassable and riddled with potholes everywhere. NY would be a failed state many times over if not for federal intervention, which only guarantees compounding of the problem. And now they try to give noncitizens the right to vote. This of all steps would be the death blow. Disenfranchise its own productive wealth class and break the bank – that’s what they are all about in NY while virtue signaling with easy money to minorities and immigrants who don’t have a clue how our Constitution is meant to preserve the Republic.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
8 months ago

About 5 or 6 years ago, the federal government forked over $4 billion dollars for repairs on the 450,000 apartments it subsidizes in just NYC alone and yet they still scream it’s not enough. The MTA subway is always close to going bankrupt and I saw why last weekend; The very short people of South America scoot right under the turnstiles and very tall black dudes jump over them!

Last edited 8 months ago by Cathy Carron
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

All males, right?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
8 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Not exactly- there are lots of very, very petite South American women, who are so short they could pass for children, who are selling stuff in the subway. They just slip under the turnstiles without paying. As an aside, the NYC Mass Transit Authority (MTA) sets aside about $100,000,000 annually for free or reduced fares for lots of lucky riders.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cathy Carron
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 months ago

Husband and I lived in NYC in the early-mid 80s and worked there for another 30. It should be shocking what has become of it: a filthy dark cavern of scaffolding and plywood under which terrifying drugged-out ghouls lurk – and this in formerly safe and cheery midtown. But it’s not shocking. The disastrous mayors, reps, alderman, city council members and other incompetent political opportunists keep getting elected to hollow out the carcass like assassin bugs.
“Escape From New York” was campy fun in 1981. Now I think it’s a d*mn good idea.

Last edited 8 months ago by Allison Barrows
McExpat M
McExpat M
8 months ago

Is it incompetence, malfeasance or both? The world feels like it’s in a death spiral where no one knows ‘opposite rudder, pull up” to break the spin.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 months ago
Reply to  McExpat M

It’s very clear what needs to be done – stop the open-borders policy and deport illegals scum. Criminals who commit heinous crimes who are illegals are not turned over to ICE for deportation, due to the Illegas Scum Industrial Complex.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

I appreciate seeing your picture, which kind of says it all. Scum is a nasty word to use that says it all about the person using it.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 months ago

The insane stupidity of the Democrat Open-Borders Requirement has been clearly demonstrated in NYC, Chicago, Washington DC, and the other cities with the “busing benefit” from Gov Abbott and DeSantis. These 2 govs have shown that a simple action of “sharing the wealth” of the illegals has brought the chickens home to Dems. In Chicago, there are massive protests of the imposition of illegals on neighborhoods which take over sports facilities and destroy neighborhoods. In NYC, hotel space is increasingly occupied by illegals.

Hopefully this will have a huge impact on the 2024 election.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
8 months ago

agreeing that the city would shelter all adult men who were homeless by reason of “physical, mental or social dysfunction”.

I spot a problem. “Social dysfunction” seems to lean towards a structural issue like the way society is set up. If you don’t like the way things are, you can in effect get freebies rather than improving your situation.
Still, mass movement of people is working. America will never be able to wage war against any other country without spending huge amounts of money pacifying and interning the inhabitants of that country – or their unassimilated descendants. You can’t be the world’s policeman if you have criminals lounging around the police station.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
8 months ago

If one apple is good, then ten apples is ten times as good? Not always ….

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
8 months ago

The economic aspect of this really doesn’t get enough attention. It’s not just about immigration; a struggling economy complicates immigrant integration. The type of immigrant – those seeking basic employment versus those attracted by the Western dream – is also critical.
In Canada, we’ve historically succeeded in integration by choosing immigrants more likely to assimilate, a fact we’re now overlooking as we lean more towards exploiting international students and temporary foreign workers to support our faltering economy, rather than focusing on immigrants who have better long-term integration prospects.
New York’s problem isn’t unique; it’s a Western concern. We’re witnessing a broader trend where economic pressures and shifting immigration policies are undermining our previous successes in integration.

Wyatt W
Wyatt W
8 months ago

Great article. This is so obviously unsustainable. Either reality hits and they reverse course (hopefully with the country in general) or maybe NYC dies out like Tyre?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 months ago

Dear Unherd Editing Team: What’s going on with the picture caption? There’s at least one noun and one indefinite article missing.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
8 months ago

Today, the only thing drawing potentially unlimited people to this stagnant city is the government’s promise of a “right to shelter”.
The right-to-shelter safety net is now drawing hundreds of thousands of people to the city — many of whom have little chance of finding a job.
Yet it will be hard for many of these newcomers to find jobs.
Migrants with no family or friends to help them settle in New York are landing in a city where crime and disorder are the norm, with rates of non-felony larceny already more than a quarter above 2019 figures.
The result is that, despite the influx of migrants, New York has reversed its decades-long population increase, as its former residents decide to flee.
Detective Nicole Gelinas has all the clues, but the culprit still eludes her. Can you solve the case?

trevor fitzgerald
trevor fitzgerald
8 months ago

Missing some data here on NYC population decline? If the populations is declining as Google says then maybe this is a visionary policy?

J S
J S
7 months ago

Adams will be thrown out for “corruption” everyone has known about forever and the far left will double down on his destructive policies. It’s over.