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By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Aug. 18, 2023: Last week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams stated that the Big Apple has already spent over 3 billion dollars to provide shelter, food, medical care, and social services or some 100,000 immigrant asylum seekers, who have so far arrived in the city from the US’ southern border.

He further explained that for each family seeking asylum, the city spends an average of $383 per night. 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.

Adams himself has said that if the number rises to100,000 asylum seekers by the end of June 2025, the cost will skyrocket to $6.1 billion in taxpayer dollars. That means over the course of three fiscal years, the city could spend more than $12 billion.

The other nightmarish reality is that if the federal government does not keep pitching in, New Yorkers could be left with a $12 billion bill.

Yet the mayor remains adamant that “New York City will not abandon our brothers and sisters seeking the American dream.”  His comments come even as many migrants were recently forced to sleep on the streets outside the Roosevelt Hotel because the city’s shelter system was full to capacity.

As an immigrant, and one who was previously undocumented, I admire the mayor’s commitment to helping brothers and sisters seeking a better life in America.

But I am also very aware of the years that could go by waiting for a work permit and green card because of processing times and backlogs. According to Title 8 of the United States Code, which governs immigration law, asylum seekers may receive authorization to work as soon as 180 days following the filing of an asylum application.

However, the asylum system is currently heavily backlogged, and it can take an average of four years for a case to be adjudicated. During this time, asylum seekers are protected from deportation but otherwise lack status or access to most federal benefits. This will leave many migrants with no means to support themselves and largely fully dependent on the city.

The question that Mayor Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul, US Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Democratic Leader Jeffries, and members of the New York City Congressional Delegation as well as advocates need to answer is: ‘Are they willing to support these immigrants for as long as it takes to get working papers – even if it means years from now?

That is the harsh reality these asylum seekers face based on US immigration law and worst yet, in a back logged system. Sorry Mr. Mayor, but the current immigration plan is completely unsustainable, especially as taxpaying New Yorkers themselves battle inflation and rising rents. It is time to face reality and paraphrase Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by saying to the buses, the city is closed. Redirect to the White House!

The writer is publisher of – The Black Immigrant Daily News. She can be reached at fe*****@ca*****.com

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