By Felicia J. Persaud
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, Fl, Fri. Sept. 1, 2023: Last week, a rally in Queens Village, my old stomping ground that I covered as an assistant news editor for the Queens Chronicle newspaper, drew thousands of protesters angry at the city’s plan to move migrants into tents set up in the parking lot adjacent to the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.
I know the area well. I once got an award from the Creedmor Snap Center for my coverage of the area years ago. It’s a middle-class community of schools and playgrounds, that is home to many seniors and families, including young children.
Normally, as an immigrant who spent several years undocumented as I waited on the backlog of processing to be cleared on my skilled immigrant application, I would be mad at the protestors.
I would call them “anti-immigrant” and “racist,” “xenophobic” and simply “hateful” for carrying such signs as “”No Tent City” and “Americans Over Migrants.”
But last week I had no such words. Last week I, an independent, immigrant voter, who is as liberal as they come, understood what these protestors were saying and their strong feelings at what is happening in New York City, my now second home.
It is absolute madness! There is no other word that suffices to describe this. As an immigrant, I completely understand why people around the world, especially the vulnerable, want to risk their lives to come to America.
Globally, America represents promise, a land of hope, options and opportunities, a land where you can reinvent yourself and dream the impossible. But while America should remain open for immigrants and immigration, what is happening currently, cannot be allowed to cannot be allowed to persist or be sustained.
This has become first and foremost, a burden to taxpayers in New York City, including many immigrants who have been living in the US undocumented for more than a decade, are paying taxes, are not a burden to the city or the state, yet can find no way to a path of legalization.
However, here are individuals, filing in across the border, applying for asylum, getting taxpayer support and stepping in line ahead of Dreamers and other immigrants, and on to a path to legalization. It is unfair and it is insane!
The city has already indicated that it spends an average of $383 per night on migrants. With more than 57,300 individuals currently in the care of NYC to date, that total is now $9.8 million a day, almost $300 million a month, and nearly $3.6 billion a year.
Now the state is stepping into foot the bill as the federal government, including the country’s immigration czar, Kamala Harris remains MIA on the issue.
How long can this go on? That money should go to the homeless, the old and vulnerable families who have called New York home for years and now are being forced out because of sky high rents or forced to endure moldy and roach infested apartments because that is all they can afford to keep a roof over their heads.
What New York needs to declare is “enough,” “suficiente,” “assez.” The city and state must put a stop to this. Let’s address the existing backlog and assist those already within the city and state instead of admitting more on a daily basis. Let’s halt the madness under the guise of being pro-immigration.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News.