Want to attend college free? Here’s how.
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First, move out of the U.S. and renounce your citizenship. Second, sneak back into the country across the southern border, request asylum and then ask to be sent to New York City, where Mayor
has graciously offered to provide tuition, room and board to illegal aliens courtesy of U.S. taxpayers. And no, you’re not reading the Babylon Bee.
Earlier this month, Mr. Adams released a blueprint for dealing with a surge of illegal immigrants arriving in the Big Apple. The plan includes a pilot program, overseen by the newly created Office of Asylum Seeker Operations, that would allow undocumented migrants to attend community college gratis in the state while their asylum claims are being adjudicated.
“Over the past year, New York City has faced an unprecedented humanitarian crisis caused by global forces beyond our control,” Mr. Adams said during a recent news conference. That there’s a crisis isn’t in doubt. More than 50,000 migrants have arrived in the city in the past year, and some 30,000 are still there and being cared for with local resources. Shelter, meals and other services for these new arrivals cost the city some $4.6 million every day, which works out to $1.7 billion a year, according to data provided by City Hall. A spokeswoman for the mayor told reporters that the city has spent “more than $500 million on asylum seeker needs in this fiscal year, which began July 1, and anticipates spending $4.2 billion across this fiscal year and the next.”
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But Mr. Adams conveniently omitted the role that he and other liberal Democratic politicians have played in exacerbating the situation. Cities such as New York, Chicago and Washington have long declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal migrants, which means that local officials are discouraged or prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration-enforcement authorities. When you turn a blind eye to illegal behavior, you often get more of it.
Last spring, Republican Gov.
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of Texas decided to test the resolve of liberals like Mr. Adams who claim that border states and cities complain about illegal immigration only because they lack the compassion of those on the political left or are simply racist. Texas began busing illegal migrants to New York and other Democratic strongholds to draw attention to President Biden’s failed border policies. Soon it was Mr. Adams who was complaining.
Initially, the mayor’s office said it would welcome the migrants “with open arms.” Mr. Adams told the mayor of El Paso to send him as many as 200 migrants a day, and he greeted new arrivals personally at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. By fall, however, shelters were overrun, city services were buckling, and he declared a state of emergency. Mr. Adams seemed shocked that so many migrants had taken him up on his offer.
Even before Gov. Abbott decided to troll Mayor Adams, New York was struggling with a growing homeless population that had almost nothing to do with illegal immigration. According to Bloomberg News, the city’s Department of Homeless Services spent more than $3 billion in 2021, which was three times what it had spent a year earlier. The conscious decision to lure more illegal immigrants to the city without any means of taking care of them properly and while city services were already stretched thin was not only foolish but potentially cruel.
“The bodies of more than 890 migrants, a record number, were recovered by U.S. authorities along the border in the 2022 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to the Biden administration, a 58% increase over 2021,” the Journal reported last week. “They drowned in fast-moving sections of the Rio Grande or, after successfully crossing, died falling from cliffs along mountain passes or from dehydration while lost.” How many of them were headed to sanctuary cities at the urging of progressive activists? How many were coming because this administration has made it clear through lax border enforcement that if they make it into the country, there’s a good chance that they will be released into the general population and allowed to stay?
Mr. Adams would do better to drop the free-college gambit and focus instead on securing work permits for migrants, which he has called for in the past. It makes little sense to allow foreigners to remain in the country for years while petitioning for asylum but not let them earn a living while they wait. The vast majority of people coming illegally are coming to work. They’re not fleeing persecution like traditional asylum seekers. They’re searching for job opportunities, and it’s in America’s economic and humanitarian interests to improve border security while also giving migrants more legal ways to come.
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Appeared in the March 22, 2023, print edition.