New Trier Political Journal

New Trier Political Journal

Sanctuary Cities in Recession and the Grifters Who Are Killing Them


“Sanctuary cities.” We’ve all heard the term at least once, either from news sources giving praise to a Democratic politician who claimed that their city or even their state was a sanctuary for any migrant who was fending against an ICE probe into their immigration status, or possibly from a more scathing review from the opposite side, claiming how these cities prevented border law from being properly enforced. Sanctuary cities as an idea were created in the late 70s in the Californian city of Berkeley, and they’ve remained parts of the left-leaning United States for decades. 

But sanctuary cities have recently experienced a new wave of popularity due to the Democratic Party’s cause of fighting “against President Trump’s xenophobic, racist and ignorant immigration policies,” to quote Los Angeles city councilor Kevin de León, an advocate for the sanctuary city and state concept. Democratic states and cities across the country jumped at the opportunity to band against Trump. What was once an applicable status to support immigrants became a virtue signal for any Democratic politician seeking a way to stick it to the unpopular president. The rest of Trump’s tenure would feature college essays and left-leaning news sources filled with statistics of how sanctuary cities had lowered crime rates and built communities unlike the “perverse” and “xenophobic” Republican alternative against the amassed millions of migrants in the United States seeking asylum and jobs that their old home could not provide them.  

But where are sanctuary cities today? Now that Trump and his unpopular immigration policies are in the rearview mirror under the Biden administration, migrant sanctuaries must be flourishing, right? Right? Wrong. Sanctuary cities today are on life support, if not already in political hospice care. But why? Why has this formerly functional policy collapsed right now at all times? 

Sanctuaries weren’t always failing; in fact, during recent presidencies, they were doing great. This success can be drawn to the factor of how secure the border was under previous presidencies such as George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Trump. A level of security that, presently, is lacking. Upon inauguration, the Biden administration took strides to undo the previous border policies made by Trump that they deemed paranoid and unnecessary. In the process of doing so, however, vital aspects of border security were undone with them. Governments of bordering states like Texas and Arizona report monumental traffic across their border from both illegal immigrants and traffickers alike under the new policy. Record-breaking levels of illegal activity have been documented at the border, from what many border governments would dub as a “reckless open border policy.”   

Today the border crisis is sending an unmanageable amount of migrants, both documented and undocumented, to cities across the southern border. Many state governments have taken it upon themselves to send the problem elsewhere. And, as a result of the Texan-led campaign to send the migrants in their states on buses and planes to sanctuary cities in the northern states, many Democratic mayors and governors have found themselves in a predicament they never thought they could handle: actually receiving the migrants they were creating sanctuaries for.

Massachusetts, a state that declared sanctuary status in 2006, declared a state of emergency on Aug. 8 after the arrival of 20,000 migrants. As of late October, Massachusetts is set to reach its migrant capacity. 

Chicago, a city with sanctuary status since 1985, declared its own state of emergency after receiving 14,000 of their own share of migrants. Chicago, with no permanent plan for migrant housing, resorted to utilizing Chicago’s own O’Hare Airport as an overflow shelter for hundreds of migrants. This sudden and rash course of action has had an impact on the influx of migrants, as the conditions in the overflow shelters are described by migrants as “sickening and inhumane.” Migrants interviewed by NewsNation claimed the conditions were “not at all humane. There are many children sick to their stomachs and other things because the food they are being given is not adequate food.” If Chicago’s migrants weren’t able to make it to the O’Hare shelter, they were housed on the floors of Chicago police stations. As of now, there are 2,984 migrants in CPD districts, up from 75% two weeks ago. 

 But no other city has been more of a target for these busing campaigns than New York City, one of the first cities to declare sanctuary status. New York has gained 110,000 new migrants, more than the population of most cities in the U.S. For New York, the flow of buses to the Big Apple doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. With migrants filling up any available shelter New York had built, many were cast to the streets and sidewalks outside New York intake centers. Democratic Mayor Eric Adams was once an avid supporter of the sanctuary city philosophy in 2021 but has suddenly flipped sides. Instead of opening his city and building housing projects for the new influx of migrants, Adams declared the sudden influx “will destroy New York.” 

Sanctuary cities across the country have struggled with the influx of migrants, despite only receiving tiny fractions of the migrant traffic the southern border witnesses daily. Not only have the underdeveloped northern shelters run out of space for their newfound migrant population, causing haphazardous improvisations, the whole situation is only complicated by the sheer diversity of the incoming migrants. Contrary to popular belief, the migrants aren’t only from Latin American countries. They also include Ukrainians, Russians, North Africans, West Africans, South Asians, and a handful of Canadians from the northern border. Migrants already require housing, public services, and jobs. With the combination of different customs and languages from all over the world converging on the American southern border, any support being provided gets overwhelmed immediately, especially the northern sanctuary cities that haven’t provided or assisted with any solutions to handle the migrant crisis.

Democratic sanctuary cities that have been actively discouraging migrants from coming to their migrant sanctuaries after realizing the cost of accepting migrants truly ooze irony. It’s even downright hypocritical that these progressive Democrat leaders are ousting the very ideas they vanguard after receiving fractions of the migrants the Republicans they demonized were receiving. But as ironic as the idea of sanctuary cities being unable to host the asylum seekers they’ve been championing from afar is, at least some of these sanctuaries attempt to hold their end of the bargain. The same cannot be said for some of these sanctuary states and cities.

Amid the chaos in sanctuary cities over the arrival of busloads of migrants arriving at their doorsteps, many governors and mayors decided to take the easy way out: revoking their sanctuary status and pretending to have never been on board with the concept in the first place. Many Democratic politicians who campaigned their way to office with anti-Trump and pro-migrant narratives and policies have decided to roll back their statuses.

 Take Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey. According to Terrence McDonald, a writer for the newspaper The New Jersey Monitor, “Murphy campaigned to become our governor by drawing a bright line between the kind of America Donald Trump wants and the kind of America Murphy believes in.” As Murphy said in his 2017 campaign,  “We open up for all to come here.” But suddenly, ever since the migrant busings, Murphy has suddenly drawn a red line, revoking his state’s entire sanctuary status after only observing the struggles of New York City. Murphy’s hypocrisy infuriated many New Jersey liberals, who claimed that they would be willing to care for a surge of newly migrated neighbors.

 Of course, this trend isn’t merely within the state borders of the Garden State. One of the trailblazers for the sudden surge of Democratic hippocratic activity is none other than Mayor Eric Adams. Adams, despite also campaigning on a pro-migrant city policy, willing to welcome any migrants who successfully jumped the border, has started to print and distribute flyers to migrants at the U.S-Mexico border. The flyers included messages detailing how New York cannot “guarantee shelter and services” and how the migrants should “consider another city as you make your decision about where to settle in the U.S.” Interesting actions from a person who claims they are running a city that “welcomes all.” Adams hasn’t just asked migrants to stay away from New York City, he has also started his own campaign of sending migrants to a different city that isn’t his. From flying migrants back to Florida and Texas or even, in some cases, back to countries they’ve originated from.

Hypocrisy can be seen in the very actions these northern Democratic mayors and governors have been taking recently toward the arrival of migrants. These northern “sanctuaries” have done nothing to assist the growing crisis at the southern border, halting efforts to manage the massive surge in migration while doing nothing to shoulder the burden. And, when they finally get the migrants they were asking for, they’re full to the brim and cannot accept anymore without their city or state collapsing.  

Amidst the wreckage of their self-imposed crises, some of the mayors and governors of sanctuaries seek to shift the blame, trying to come up with an excuse for their ineffective policies. Many such as Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and California Gov. Gavin Newsom shifted the blame to Gov. Greg Abbott, the Texan Republican behind the majority of the busing campaigns to northern states. Democrats say Abbott’s campaign of busing migrants is a cruel practice, disrupting the lives of asylum seekers who have nowhere else to go. Abbott and other Republicans would hit back with how northern states are not taking their share of the burden while creating reckless systems that work ineffectively. In their words, “liberal policies of open borders will not work in this country.” 

But unexpectedly, Abbott and his Republican comrades aren’t the only ones that these failed sanctuaries are blaming, with some putting the blame on Democratic President Joe Biden. That’s right, members of the Democratic Party are going after Biden for creating policies that they believe are responsible for the border crisis. Some Democrats include Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healy and Mayor Adams of New York, both of whom sourced the White House’s inaction as the root cause behind the crisis of the border. Healy claimed that the Biden administration caused “a federal crisis of inaction that is many years in the making.” Adams included his own remarks towards the White House, including a chilling statement on the crisis: “I was asking myself, are we the only ones that are seeing what’s happening to human beings?” 

This narrow and sudden bipartisan agreement isn’t baseless. Ever since the Biden administration’s decision to make policing the border more lenient, the migrant crisis has only gotten worse. Take illegal immigration as an example, the illegal immigrant population increased an additional 1.13 million under the Biden administration. Added to the accumulation of undocumented immigrants in U.S history, it’s now 11.46 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. That’s for the migrants who even make it across the border. In the first 11 months of 2023’s fiscal year, U.S border patrol apprehended 390,000 migrants attempting to cross the border. The statistics only got more brutal; the new policy resulted in migrant deaths on the border tripling, blowing away any previously set records during any presidency. So fatal, in fact, that the United Nations in September declared the U.S southern border as the “world’s deadliest migrant route.” “All of these deaths rest solely on the president and his “progressive” migrant release policies,” claims the Center for Immigration Studies. 

Though, is the Biden Administration responsible for the mayhem at the border and thus the collapse of the sanctuary city? In truth, it depends on which side you ask. Many will defend the Biden policy, seeing it as the only better alternative to a “xenophobic” Trump approach. Many opinionated articles exist on left-leaning news sources claiming that Republican claims of a border crisis are exaggerated if not wholly fabricated. On the other hand, many conservatives believe that Biden only made a raging crisis worse with reckless policy changes and the inability to properly counter illegal immigration and drug, weapon, and human trafficking. 

The argument of these conservatives isn’t without reason, though. As mentioned before, the statistics on migrant crossings in comparison to previous presidential administrations do paint a poor picture of the adequacy of Biden’s progressive border plan. On top of that, many of the Biden administration’s efforts to improve the migrant crisis have been oafish at best. Take Vice President Kamala Harris’s 2021 trip to Guatemala in order to solve the “root cause of immigration.” The entire meeting is best summarized by Harris’s infamous remark to the Guatemalan people: “Do not come. Do not come.” Which, believe it or not, didn’t have any significant effect on deterring Guatemalan asylum seekers from attempting to cross the southern border. Biden’s border policy was under critique for years, and he fell under even more scrutiny after it took him until 2023 to even visit the southern border. Many states do not even follow his federal policy. Texas has resorted to Operation Lone Star in order to keep its crisis at bay, and Arizona has been filling gaps in Trump’s idle border wall. Even the Democratic city of El Paso has begun busing migrants to the north alongside their conservative counterparts.

The border crisis is a crisis of a magnitude most cannot comprehend. It is a crisis that this country should be united in tackling. Not a divisive situation meant to fracture liberals and conservatives further apart, but a situation that can bring the polarized sides together. This problem will not be solved if our state and federal governments cannot find common ground if states refuse to talk to each other if hypocritical politicians backpedal their campaign promises, and if our government fails to address the fact that there is a crisis at the border. The longer we prolong this, the more our border towns suffer amidst the pandemonium, the more opportunists and cartels can abuse human beings, and the more futures of migrants who came here only seeking better lives are trampled underfoot. The policy needs to change, for both our country’s sake and the sake of every migrant that has ever trekked their way to the Rio Grande.

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Billy Stromberg
Billy Stromberg, Staff Writer

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  • C

    California Conservative
    Feb 7, 2024 at 4:43 pm

    Not often do I read news articles that make sense, and avoid propaganda. Great info, fair and accurate.
    In an honorable society we would get an apology from all the liberals whose ideology has ruined the country via soft on crime to open borders to wokeness to record inflation.

  • C

    Charles Hutchinson
    Jan 17, 2024 at 12:18 pm

    I stumbled across this article and I wanted to say, “good job”. I look forward to reading more from the New Trier Political Journal.

    • B

      Billy Stromberg
      Feb 11, 2024 at 10:15 am

      Thank you so much for your compliments, this was my first article and I had no idea how it would be received.