Things aren’t getting better in New York City as it continues to deal with the influx of asylum seekers and illegal aliens, bolstered by busloads from Texas and Arizona. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has tried to walk the fine line between criticizing the Biden administration for allowing the crisis to continue while still appearing welcoming to the thousands who have shown up on his doorstep. But the ones suffering the most from this affair are ordinary New Yorkers – especially those who operate businesses in the city.
New York City Buckling Under the Onslaught
The New York Post reported that businesses in New York City are having a hard time of it as the government has chosen to house incoming migrants in hotels. It seems the presence of these individuals has discouraged tourism, upon which these companies depend to earn a living. “We 100% will have to cut shifts, and some people will lose their jobs over the next four weeks,” said Ana Ivkosic, owner of Cafe Wattle, located close to a Holiday Inn in the Financial District that started housing migrants earlier this month.
“With well-heeled tourists replaced by penniless refugees from Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador, revenue has plunged. Total sales for menu items like $2.50 cups of coffee and $10 acai bowls are down 75% some days. The cafe used to clear $2,000 on a good day in January but now might ring up only $500,” according to the report. During an appearance on Fox & Friends, Ivkosic told the hosts that her neighborhood feels like a “ghost town” and that the nearby hotel has become the “world’s tallest migrant facility.”
She indicated that she reached out to her city councilman to discuss solutions for companies being affected by the migrant crisis. “Ultimately, we would like to make sure that we can work with the council and with the city to see how we can – pivot and try and address the lack of tourist money that is coming through our local community,” she said.
Other restaurant owners have been feeling the pain as well, especially those located on Rector Street, previously another tourist attraction. “If you stop by, I’m dead most of the day,” said Fotis Liberatos, who runs Siena Pizza and Cannoli as well as Siena Bakehouse.
So far, New York City has opened 85 emergency shelters and five Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers, which house at least 29,100 individuals. The Adams administration will continue using hotels to hold migrants and recently hammered out a $275 million deal with the Hotel Association of New York City to provide shelter to 5,000 people. The ongoing crisis has become an immense problem for the Big Apple. When Adams first took office in January 2022, about 45,000 people were living in the shelter system. Now, the number has grown to 77,000, a 71% increase, according to the New York Times.
Fox News also noted that many New York City residents are “struggling to pay rent in the Big Apple due to skyrocketing prices,” but migrants are receiving “free $190-a-night rooms at the four-star Holiday Inn until May of next year.” Additionally, when the hotel reaches full capacity, it will cost taxpayers $93,500 per day and about $2.8 million per month.
However, the situation is not as dire for some. The Financial District Holiday Inn went bankrupt in 2020 and was having trouble booking rooms. But now it rakes in almost double what it made previously.
New Yorkers Want Solutions, Not Posturing
So far, Adams has seemed unable to find solutions to the migrant influx that does not involve harming local businesses. He has repeatedly called on the Biden administration to provide federal assistance to help with housing. The city was expected to receive about $800 million in FEMA funding – but it is not clear how long this will help manage the increasing arrivals.
New York City voters are not happy with the ongoing problem and want more help from the federal government. In fact, a recent Quinnipiac University poll revealed that 70% of residents believe the onslaught of immigrants is a crisis and 63% do not believe the state has the capacity to accommodate them. About 82% felt the federal government should step in and lend assistance.
But if the Biden administration’s handling of this matter so far is any indication, the people of New York City will have to continue dealing with the migrant crisis for the foreseeable future. Not only has the White House failed to come up with adequate solutions to the issue – it has reversed policies that were designed to prevent this situation in the first place.
Moreover, the president and his team seem more concerned with Ukraine’s welfare than those suffering the brunt of the migrant crisis. Perhaps more pressure from voters might at least cause enough of a stir for the city’s government to help decrease the impact on small businesses.
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