New York Gov. Kathy Hochul finally acknowledged the severity of the immigration crisis, breaking rank with the majority of the Democratic Party by admitting that the U.S. southern border is “too open,” breaking away from her old stances and calling on the Biden administration to take action.
When Hochul appeared on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, she called on Congress to enact a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that would “have a limit on who can come across the border.”
“It is too open right now,” Hochul said of the southern border. “People coming from all over the world are finding their way through, simply saying they need asylum, and the majority of them seem to be ending up in the streets of New York and that is a real problem for New York City,” adding that her state had recently received 125,000 new migrants.
“We are always so proud of the fact that New York has the Statue of Liberty in our harbor,” she told host Margaret Brennan. “We are one of the most diverse places on earth because of our welcoming nature and it’s in our DNA to welcome immigrants, but there has to be some limits in place.”
The Democratic governor of New York demanded Congress “put more controls at the border” and “double or quadruple” the number of Border Patrol agents.
However, Hochul’s stance less than two years ago on immigration was quite different than this new stance. In December 2021, Hochul was discussing New York’s history of welcoming immigrants and refugees, claiming that immigrants “are welcome here.”
“Where people who left religious persecution or left wars, left oppression and left extreme poverty, like my own grandparents, leaving Ireland with nothing, that is what we have always viewed as our responsibility to the rest of the world,” Hochul said during a press conference at the time. “But because of that, we are a far better, more enriched, diverse state. And that’s a huge point of pride for all New Yorkers.”
“As you know, the Statue of Liberty is inscribed. It says, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” she continued. “And that statement [encapsulates] our values.
“We want people to come here despite where they came from or despite the circumstances that drove them to this country, into this state,” Hochul proclaimed. “We see say, you are welcome here. You’re welcome with open arms and we’ll work to keep you safe.
“We’ll not only house you, but we’ll protect you,” Hochul promised migrants. “And the richness of the culture and the diversity and the food and the restaurants that we know are going to be coming because of these efforts are beyond measure. It says it’s an extraordinary part of our story. And it’s woven into the story of New York and it makes us more vibrant.”
Hochul is hardly the first Democrat to break from their party on the issue, with New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams also changing his tune on illegal immigration in recent months, after migrants began being shipped to the city from the southern border.
In October 2021, Adams declared on the campaign trail: “We should protect our immigrants. Period. Yes, New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration.”
But in the last few months, Adams has completely reversed course, as illegal immigrants have overwhelmed his city, claiming in August that the immigration crisis would “destroy” the city.
“Immigration is the New York story. It is the American story. But as I declared nearly a year ago, we are facing an unprecedented state of emergency due to the asylum seeker crisis,” Adams said in August.
Adams said the city is “past our breaking point” because of a “broken immigration system” and claimed that the crisis would cost New York City $12 billion over the next three years.
Of course, New York City remains a sanctuary city under Adams.
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