Mayors Write Letter to Biden Over Immigration

Asylum Seekers
Asylum Seekers outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan in New York. | Image by Arnett Murry/Shutterstock

Five mayors from some of the largest cities in the United States wrote a letter to President Joe Biden requesting help with managing the large number of unlawful migrants coming to their cities.

Mayors from Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York City all signed the letter, which requested an urgent meeting with the president and laid out four steps that could be taken to help support the cities.

The first step proposed was to supply each city with additional federal taxpayer money, with the mayors claiming that “[r]elying on municipal budgets is not sustainable and has forced [the municipalities] to cut essential city services.”

“Right now, Denver is spending almost $2 million a week on shelter, New York City has surpassed $1.7 billion in spending, and Chicago has spent over $320 million,” the letter reads.

“We need additional federal funds to assist those who are arriving in our communities without hindering our ability to manage other city functions,” the mayors wrote. “We request an appropriation of $5 billion to cover the expenditures our cities have already incurred and to continue serving the growing number of people arriving in our communities.”

The second measure proposed was to expedite work authorization approval and adjudication, which would allegedly lower the required time processed migrants have to wait to get approval to work.

Currently, the goal is a 30-day turnaround for those with temporary protected status (TPS), but the letter claims that “a large population of newly TPS-eligible individuals will still potentially wait upwards of six months to have their work authorizations processed and confirmed.”

The third step suggested in the letter was to increase overall access to work authorization.

More than 75% of the people sheltered by the cities are ineligible to receive work authorization following a new rule implemented by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that ended protocols maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, the mayors stated in the letter that they would like to set up a coordinated entry process that also helps to distribute the unlawful migrants in a way that is more manageable for each of the cities.

“We encourage the administration to work with nonprofit partners to coordinate the location and geographic movement of recent arrivals at the southern border, to include the placement of regional coordinators in major cities to help ensure that recent immigrants arrive where sufficient capacity exists,” reads the letter.

“We believe we have a unique opportunity to work with the White House and Congress over these next few weeks to create an immigration and asylum system that will treat our newcomers with dignity and be fair and equitable to cities and neighborhoods across the country,” the mayors wrote.

This letter comes following a record number of migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in September, with 269,735 encounters reported that month, according to The Dallas Express.

Texas has also been dealing with a high number of unlawful migrants entering the state, prompting a series of actions from Gov. Greg Abbott to combat the crisis.

One step Abbott has taken is bussing unlawful migrants out of the state and to sanctuary cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Denver, and Chicago.

More than 50,000 people have been bussed to sanctuary cities across the country since April 2022, according to an October press release from the Office of Gov. Abbott.

This number includes over 18,500 sent to New York and 13,500 sent to Chicago since August 2022, with over 3,200 sent to Denver since May 18, per a press release.

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