May Mailman is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and a former legal adviser to President Donald Trump on immigration and social issues.
Growing up in small-town Western Kansas, I couldn’t afford to travel to New York until I was 21. When I did make my grand arrival, it was on a Chinatown bus. I paid for it out of my own pocket.
Then I asked a cab to take me to my hotel near the Waldorf Astoria. The cab driver, however, dropped me off at the Waldorf, where it was swiftly made known that I, in my Gap dress and department store boots, was certainly not a guest there.
That’s not the tale for the busload of migrants who are being shipped into the city from Texas and Arizona — after first illegally entering the country — and being housed, on the taxpayers’ dime, at fancy New York City hotels.
On Thursday, New York City’s Department of Social Services requested an extra 5,000 hotel rooms to accommodate New York’s newest guests. That’s on top of the 1,000 rooms the city announced they’d be renting last week at places like The Row, a four-star Times Square resort.
The cost to the city is likely a bargain. When I was in the Trump Administration, the price for one minor for one night was $775 in temporary influx housing.
Busloads of migrants are being shipped into the city from Texas and Arizona. A bus is seen arriving in New York’s Port Authority bus terminal on Friday morning
The migrants with bags in tow step off the bus and head to either a hotel, funded by taxpayers, or onto the next stage of their journey within the United States
This housing, called ‘tent cities’ during the Trump administration but ’pop-up facilities’ during the Biden administration, consists of massive air-conditioned tents for living, school, eating and play-time and security around the entire thing. And it sometimes costs more than that. Sometimes as much as $1,200, I was told in the White House.
For years liberal elites like Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass,) and former Mayor Bill de Blasio have been begging to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and every single New York City mayoral candidate doubled down on maintaining the Big Apple’s status as a sanctuary city, arguing the city had to ‘live up to its values’ and ’invest’ in illegal aliens.
Even so-called moderate candidate Andrew Yang said he supported everyone who comes to this country or to New York seeking a better life.
And yet when migrants started arriving in New York, Mayor Eric Adams called it ‘horrific.’
He immediately pushed migrants into homeless shelters, opening 11 new emergency shelters, and is planning for a 600-bed facility in midtown Manhattan (three times larger than allowed by state rules).
The Row Hotel is a Band-aid while shelter space comes online. Adams has also sought volunteers to move migrants to other cities. And, of course, he wants the Feds to pay for New York’s kindness.
Seems like liberal New York bureaucrats, no longer thrilled at the idea of ‘investing’ in illegal migrants, now have their opportunity. Liberals want to say they welcome illegal aliens, so long as it doesn’t cost them money, hotel space or affect their views on the way to work.
If illegal immigration only affects middle-class Texans, it’s perfectly fine with the coastal elites.
But here’s where the influx of migrants becomes an even bigger problem than it already is: The housing needs won’t stop at 6,000 rooms, and it won’t stop at New York.
On Thursday, New York City’s Department of Social Services requested an extra 5,000 hotel rooms to accommodate New York’s newest guests
Every single day, more than 6,000 migrants cross the border illegally — sometimes thousands more. So far in 2022, more than two million have crossed American borders.
And while President Joe Biden just funded 87,000 armed IRS agents to enforce the law against the taxpaying citizen schlubs, our border agents are outwardly limp in interacting with illegal migrants.
Just look at the shocking video showing illegal migrants waiting to enter private property in Texas, and border agents unlocking the gate and ushering them in — just after Texas National Guard officers had locked it.
Can we get an armed IRS agent down there?
There are 50 ports across the United States-Mexico border that migrants can enter lawfully or seek asylum. Random private property is not free for the taking for citizens, as I learned at the Waldorf. New York’s fancy hotels, and Texas ranch property, should be equally closed to illegal migrants.
Here’s the tough thing about ‘the border’: There’s no painted line between the US and Mexico, meaning that migrants often cross into the US, entitling them to seek asylum, before reaching any sort of border patrol structure. But private property is private property.
These illegal migrants, assuming they are hoping to claim asylum, should at least be required to present themselves at a port-of-entry, be given a number and told to come back when a judge can adjudicate their asylum claim — unless they are actively running from the Mexican cartel.
That’s the Remain in Mexico program, a highly successful Trump-era program started in early 2019.
Illegal migrants from Texas and Arizona are being housed in NYC hotels on the taxpayers’ dime
A Border Patrol agent arrives with key to open a gate and let migrants into a private property on the border in Texas
Under Remain in Mexico, the US continued to adjudicate asylum claims but didn’t require rooms at the Ritz or damage to private property to do so. Under the agreement between the US and Mexico, the US would return non-Mexican asylum seekers to Mexico to await their asylum hearing in the US, which would take place swiftly and conveniently near the border.
Migrants who knew they had bogus claims either gave up at that point, or never made the journey to begin with, because the free pass into the US was over.
The Biden administration ended it under the fake rationale that running the program pulled too many agents away from securing the border. Perhaps if border patrol spent less time opening fences for migrants to flood private property, they would have more time to restart the program.
As someone used to the hotel business, former President Donald Trump would often remark (in private and in public) that when migrants arrived at the border, the message should be no different than any public accommodation unable to take walk-ins: We’re full.
This sparked considerable grumbling, which is precisely what Mayor Adams is saying today. New York is full. Not that New York, or the US generally, is unable to welcome all migrants, but we can’t take walk-ins.
But the Biden administration is the world’s worst doorman, opening the door no matter a community’s capacity to absorb a huge new population. And the liberal/moderate wing on the Supreme Court decided (wrongly) in 2012 there’s nothing states or cities can do about it.
So buckle up, Plaza Hotel, and hold on to your hat, St. Regis. It’s going to take a lot more hotels, classrooms, hospital beds and social services than we’ve got to hold all of the migrants coming New York’s way.
If Americans — and individual states — want to stop the influx of migrants, they’re going to have to vote for an entirely new Congress. And that won’t happen.