Letting Unvetted People Into the US Causing Immigration Crisis, Hurting Quality of Life: NYC Councilman

Democrat New York City Councilman Robert Holden is concerned about the rising number of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers drawing on the city’s resources, and he’s blaming President Joe Biden.

In an interview with NTD’s ‘Capitol Report,’ Mr. Holden said New York City is running out of space to house everyone. His comments echo concerns raised by Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams in recent months.

“The mayor is stuck between a rock and a hard place,” Mr. Holden said. “It’s getting to a point where, obviously, we’ve run out of hotel rooms, we’ve run out of space, they’re putting up tents in parks and on bases, and you name it. They’re trying to … house the migrants but … the taxpayers are footing the bill here.”

Mayor Adams’s administration has looked for new shelter locations over the past year, including renting out hotels, opening up a cruise-ship terminal, a former police academy building, and more recently at a parking lot for a mental hospital. Mr. Adams has also considered housing some illegal immigrants on public school property.

Mr. Holden said he’s concerned with the level of vetting applied to the people arriving in New York City from the border, many of whom are single men. He blamed President Biden’s border policies for contributing to the challenge.

“They’re unvetted, and that’s the big problem here, and I’m blaming the President of the United States, he’s totally dropped the ball with this: unvetted, mostly men, mostly unskilled coming into the country, who can’t work,” Mr. Holden said. “So … we’re housing them, or trying to at least, but you’re allowing them in the country, you’re allowing them in New York City, you’re saying ‘Here, stay here, but you can’t make a living.’ That’s a recipe for disaster, and it’s never going to turn out well.”

Though he is a registered Democrat, Mr. Holden has positioned himself as a moderate and broken ranks with his party in the past. He received the support of Republicans and conservatives in his 2017 run to oust then-incumbent Democratic Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. He also endorsed Lee Zeldin, a Republican, in the 2022 New York gubernatorial election, preferring him over Kathy Hochul, the incumbent Democratic governor.

“Obviously, you’re letting in some criminals, you’re letting in people who might turn to crime because they can’t make a living. And you’re not giving them options,” Mr. Holden said of the situation for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers in the country. “We don’t have a plan from the President. There’s no plan to … let them work yet. I haven’t seen it. So this is not going to turn out well for anyone, and the residents of New York City are tired of this.”

Some New York Democrats have called for President Biden to declare a state of emergency and grant temporary work authorizations for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers residing in the United States while they wait to either be granted asylum status or to be deported.

While Mr. Holden also raised the issue of allowing noncitizens to work, he reiterated calls for a stricter vetting standard and shared concerns about safety and security.

“The President, again, has been asleep at the wheel on this. He’s … issued, since he came into office, nearly 300 executive orders tied to immigration, and most of them were designed to make it easier for the people who have come into our country. So that’s a mistake,” Mr. Holden said. “If you’re going to—especially in a city like New York, which we suffered the most on 9/11—to let … unvetted people into the United States: Didn’t we learn anything from 9/11/01? Didn’t we learn something from that?

“We should really question anybody that comes into our country, and not let them just roam freely without knowing who they are,” he added.

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