Border Crisis is Killing American Cities and Suburbs

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February 11, 2024

Michael McManus

Director of Research

FAIR Take | February 2024

The border crisis is impacting the entire U.S., but its effects are most visible and shocking in large cities and the suburbs around them.

Cities appeal to illegal aliens for a variety of reasons.

They typically offer higher wages than smaller towns and rural areas, and most illegal aliens are motivated by the prospect of economic gain. However, another primary reason is the ‘sanctuary’ policies of many of the largest cities, which promise a no-questions-asked environment for illegal aliens.

These cities also frequently offer access to benefits, such as housing, health care, and legal services regardless of immigration status. This is all very well and good for illegal aliens, but the Americans who call these cities home are suffering the consequences.

Americans have had their community centers and sports facilities commandeered to provide housing for migrants. In Roxbury, Massachusetts, a community center in a predominantly African-American neighborhood was commandeered by state authorities and used to house illegal immigrants.

The local community was not consulted and given less than 48 hours’ notice that migrants would take over the community facility. While locals were assured this was a ‘temporary’ measure, it shows where the priorities of the city authorities lay.

This is not the first time African-American neighborhoods have seen their community centers taken away, like in October 2023 when Chicago city authorities brought in 10 buses full of illegal aliens to house them in a community center. In Denver, Colorado, the sheer scale of illegal alien arrivals caused the Mayor of Denver to declare a “state of emergency” because of the pressure being placed on city resources.

American students in our cities are also losing out. In January 2024, high school students in Brooklyn, New York City, were ordered to switch to remote learning when city authorities used the school to shelter 1,900 illegal aliens. In May 2023, New York City authorities used 20 school gyms as housing for illegal aliens with adult migrants crouching over child-sized faucets.

In El Paso, Texas, city authorities used federal funds to buy a middle school and convert it into housing for migrants, using Americans’ taxpayer money to buy a school and then stop American children from using it in favor of illegal aliens.

In Denver, 2,800 illegal alien children have enrolled in school, diverting teachers’ attention away from American children and drastically increasing demand for costly English-learner programs. Whether it be New York, Texas or anywhere in between, it seems the education of children in American cities is playing second fiddle to making sure illegal aliens may stay in the country.

Public safety in the cities is also starting to collapse due to illegal aliens.

Dangerous new street gangs, such as the Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua, have begun operating in American cities, with the public safety challenges that poses. Even when not in formal transnational cartels, groups of illegal aliens have been heavily implicated in crime sprees.

Take, for example, the Venezuelan gang that carried out retail robberies in Chicago or the beating of NYPD officers in front of shocked tourists in Times Square. Beyond the bigger stories are everyday events that harm Americans, from drunk driver illegal aliens who kill Americans to sex offenders who prey on American women and children in sanctuary jurisdictions.

There is an obvious and painful economic and tax cost to Americans in the cities due to the high costs generated by illegal aliens. For New York City, the city will spend $12 billion on migrant-related costs, more than it spends on the NYPD, Fire Department and Department of Sanitation combined. In Denver, illegal aliens in school have left the school system $17.5 million in the hole.

The cost imposed by illegal aliens in Chicago, just in 2023, stands at over $360 million.

The net cost nationally of illegal aliens by early 2023 stood at over $150.7 billion. As Americans already struggle with the cost of living, the unrelenting flow of illegal migrants into the U.S. only adds a further burden onto taxpayers.