It’s not just Republicans sending migrants to New York anymore.
On Tuesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis became the latest state leader and first Democrat governor to ship migrants to the Big Apple, antagonizing New York City officials who are already grappling with the immigration crisis brought to their front doorstep. New York City Mayor Eric Adams spilled the tea during a radio interview Tuesday morning.
“We were notified [Monday] that the governor of Colorado is now stating that they are going to be sending migrants to places like New York and Chicago,” Adams said. “This is just unfair for local governments to have to take on this national obligation.”
In mid-December, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock declared a state of emergency to seek state and federal funding to care for the hundreds of migrants whose presence has placed pressure on the city’s shelter system ahead of the harsh winter weather. More than 3,500 have arrived in the Colorado capital since Dec. 9, according to Axios, with the bill in taxpayer assistance expected to eclipse more than $4 million in the coming months.
Moments after Hancock’s radio interview Tuesday, the Colorado governor’s office published a press release announcing plans to export migrants across the country coupled with a call for stronger border security.
“No one should play politics with the lives of migrants who came here to escape oppression, and in Colorado, we are honoring our values of treating people with dignity and respect,” Polis said. “States and cities cannot continue to bear this burden alone and Congress needs to finally step up – we need an immediate route to work permits, and to finally enact better border security and immigration reform.”
Polis joins the Republican governors of Texas and Florida in sending migrants to liberal-led cities which have billed themselves as “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants. The moves caught flak from Democrats who labeled the flights and bus trips as cheap political stunts. In September, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sparked an avalanche of headlines for sending a pair of planes with fewer than 50 migrants to the elite East Coast haven of Martha’s Vineyard. On an island where the median home sale price is north of $1.3 million, residents are hardly at a loss for resources, but after just 48 hours, they deported the newcomers anyway.
But why would Polis, a Democrat governor with presidential aspirations, follow Republicans in sending excess migrants to the nation’s largest cities? Maybe he simply didn’t want his own state’s biggest city drained of resources by the arrival of hundreds of illegal aliens per day. Or maybe he was after headlines while pretending not to be after headlines — and he got them, even if the spotlight was dimmed by the drama unfolding in the speaker’s race on Capitol Hill. Politico, CBS, the Daily Mail, and the New York Post each gave the Polis play coverage.
But if the governor, who’s modeled himself as a moderate within his own party, really wanted to make a point, he would have announced migrant trips to Colorado’s prestigious mountain towns of Aspen and Vail. Just as DeSantis shipped migrants to the wealthy enclave of Martha’s Vineyard, Polis could have highlighted elite apathy to the nation’s broken immigration system wreaking havoc on communities nationwide, bringing the crisis home for the top 1 percent.
Even if Polis didn’t announce the migrant flights as a ploy to paint himself as an independent mind in the Democratic Party, Aspen and Vail, located just a few hours’ drive west of Denver, make far better destinations than Chicago or New York. Aspen has a median household income of nearly $90,000 a year, and it’s nearly $83,000 in Vail. Polis could have harnessed the resources in Colorado’s destination cities to care for migrants without shipping them out of state, meanwhile giving Denver taxpayers financial space to breathe.
The most humane policy, of course, would be a secure border, but the nation is beyond that until Americans elect a Republican president, and even then, it will have to be the right Republican.
President Joe Biden announced new measures Thursday that are supposedly intended to curb illegal migration, but the speech amounted to nothing but lip service. Biden’s measures include humanitarian assistance to Central America and a welcome mat for 30,000 new migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua every month.