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OPINION: As Migrant Crisis Worsens, N.Y. Doubles-Down on a Disaster

By Will Barclay


The country is facing an unprecedented illegal-immigration problem, and the impacts are being felt here in New York state. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s approach to solving it has been inconsistent and ineffective from the start. Making matters worse, she is proposing to spend billions of dollars to house and support the migrants while also advocating they join the state’s workforce by creating new hiring standards.

“Taxpayers, who are on the hook for an enormous sum in support of the migrants, have reached their limit.”


There are several major problems with the governor’s approach. For one, New York State does not have $2.4 billion to spend on housing illegal migrants, as she proposed, while we are facing a $20 billion deficit in the coming three years. Additionally, the migrants have nowhere to live, and they have already forced school closures and displacements around the state. We cannot take on any more overflow. Taxpayers, who are on the hook for an enormous sum in support of the migrants, have reached their limit.

 I joined New York Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt to write a letter calling for New York to join other states around the U.S. in support of efforts to secure both the northern and southern border. Sen. Ortt, who was once deployed for that very reason, rightfully noted there is precedent for such action, and I believe it is incumbent upon the state to act when the federal government refuses to do so.

The risks stemming from the overflow of illegal immigration in New York state are no longer theoretical. Because the nature of the migrants who are here is a mystery to policymakers and law-enforcement agents, they face unprecedented risks if and when they interact with them. Case in point, two police officers [in New York City’s Times Square] were recently assaulted while trying to quell a disorderly mob of migrants. The suspects were immediately released without bail. Police now suspect that four of the illegal migrants involved in the altercation have fled to California. From the southern border to the streets of New York City, this incident is another glaring example of the complete failures by Democratic [Party] officials.

I am disheartened to see the state leaning into this disaster rather than stopping it in its tracks. The governor’s office has lacked direction on this matter for a long time — first declaring New York a “sanctuary” state, then telling migrants to “go somewhere else,” to now suggesting we create a public jobs program is wildly inconsistent. It’s going to take clarity and dramatic action to mitigate the crisis, and both have been sorely lacking.                

William (Will) A. Barclay, 55, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses all of Oswego County, as well as parts of Jefferson and Cayuga counties.

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