The migrant surge in New York is poised to become an issue in next year’s election, especially in the competitive congressional districts surrounding New York City that could decide control of the U.S. House.
In recent weeks, Republicans representing those regions have taken aim legislatively and rhetorically at the migrant situation.
“New York City is transporting a crisis to counties all across the state of New York,” Rep. Marc Molinaro said in an interview Thursday.
Earlier this week, a Republican-led House committee advanced Molinaro’s bill, hitting back at an idea floated by Gov. Kathy Hochul to shelter migrants at state university campuses. Molinaro’s legislation aims to prevent that from happening.
“Our SUNY campuses in many parts of upstate New York are centers of community. There’s summer programming, there's summer camps, there’s summer academic classes, there’s athletics,” said the congressman, whose district includes parts of the Hudson Valley and Central New York.
Nassau County Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, meanwhile, has blasted recently announced plans to convert a hangar at JFK airport into a shelter. He has also called for the impeachment of Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas.
“He's failed miserably. He has shown us a complete dereliction of duty,” D’Esposito said in an interview.
Both Molinaro and D’Esposito represent districts that Democrats are targeting next year.
D’Esposito says he expects the migrant situation will be a potent issue for voters, setting it up as a potential topic on the campaign trail.
“I believe that this issue is only going to become more apparent, it's only going to become more tangible,” he said, arguing that the issues at the southern border are now being seen firsthand in New York.
Asked what the response to such attacks will be, the top House Democrat, Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, said, “We're working hard to make sure that New York City gets the relief that it needs in order to manage the migrant situation, in a manner consistent with our values as Americans, with the rule of law, with the fact that people who are seeking refuge and fleeing persecution are entitled to due process.”
Jeffries noted the roughly $100 million in FEMA aid recently secured for New York City.
Asked last month if she is concerned the migrant situation could hurt Democrats' chances in New York heading into 2024, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is up for reelection next year, said, “My concern is that there is a humanitarian crisis with families, with children who are suffering deeply.”