How migrant crisis will sink Biden

POLITICS: How migrant crisis will sink Biden

Not since 1975 — when a famous tabloid headline read, “Ford to New York: Drop Dead” — have New York City’s finances and politics weighed so heavily on national consciousness.

Just as the city’s looming bankruptcy threatened President Gerald Ford’s reelection in 1976, unfettered immigration and rising crime are now imperiling President Biden’s chances at a second term.

Nothing embodies the link between these two issues more than the upsurge in migrant crime in New York, particularly the recent cases of the eight immigrants who attacked two cops in Times Square, the shooting there Thursday by someone police believe to be a migrant and the moped-migrant gang preying on New Yorkers.

It didn’t help that some of the suspected cop-beating assailants were initially set free after their arrest, with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg claiming there wasn’t enough evidence to detain them. Some promptly fled the state and remain on the loose.

Bragg’s message is one that’s echoed repeatedly in New York and throughout the nation: If you commit a crime in a Democratic-controlled city, the chances that you’ll face serious penalties are slim to none.

Though bankruptcy isn’t looming, as in 1975, both the city and state face enormous financial challenges — a  $4.3 billion state deficit and $7 billion in city red ink — in large part because of uncontrolled illegal immigration.

With their political futures at risk, Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul have been blunt in their condemnations of federal migrant policies.

Here’s the latest on the Times Square shooting

  • A tourist was shot in the leg at a retail store in Times Square on Thursday night by a shoplifter. The shoplifter then opened fire at an NYPD officer in Midtown, according to police.
  • NYPD has identified Jesus Lejenadro Rivas-Figueroa, 15, as a person of interest in connection to the Thursday night shooting, Chief of Patrol John Chell said.
  • The NYPD has offered a $10,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the suspect.
  • A security guard at JD Sports at West 42 Street and Broadway approached a group of young males to stop them from stealing when one pulled out a gun, fired it in her direction and missed, hitting the nearby tourist.
  • Sources said Friday that a 15-year-old and a third person were taken into custody and later released.
  • Jesus Alejandro Rivas-Figueroa, a 15-year-old Venezuelan teen migrant identified as the shooting suspect by NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell, was taken into custody around 3:30 p.m. Friday at a home in Yonkers.

Adams laments there’s “no leadership here” and Democrats “are waving a big white flag of surrender” in the upcoming elections if they don’t get immigration and crime under control.

Hochul insists “this crisis originated with the federal government, and it must be resolved with the federal government.”

As serious of a problem as this is for New York’s leaders, it’s an even bigger problem for Biden.

The most recent NBC News poll shows Donald Trump leading Biden by four points in a head-to-head matchup, and by 35 points on the issue of immigration.

Biden’s approval rating on the issue sits at a dismal 22%.

Put plainly, the Biden administration has been asleep at the switch, and has done nothing meaningful on immigration.

Biden’s policies have allowed record numbers of immigrants into the United States.

And Democrats’ efforts to shift blame to Republicans for refusing a legislative compromise on the issue have largely fallen flat; House Speaker Mike Johnson this week insisted that Biden “has the authority” to take action.

What needs to be done?

With the bipartisan agreement on immigration dead-on-arrival in the House, Biden must carry out whatever aspects of the legislation he can via executive orders.

This might include freezing immigration at the Southern border, tightening asylum rules by expanding the government’s deportation powers, capping the number of daily border crossings, calling in the National Guard on behalf of “sanctuary” city and border state governors and allocating funds to support migrant shelters.

He should also issue an EO to end funding for “sanctuary” cities, which are major impediments to solving this crisis.

Sanctuary cities allow illegal migrants to be cared for and even protected from federal immigration authorities, and though may seem righteous, they’re absolutely unaffordable and irresponsible under the current circumstances.

It’s simply unacceptable for law-enforcement to tolerate criminal behavior by migrants, just as it’s impractical to divert scarce financial resources and taxpayer dollars to programs for them.

Rejecting sanctuary cities is both sound policy and good politics and will play well in critical swing states like Pennsylvania.

First and foremost, the president should deliver an Oval Office address, where he clearly lays out his plans and highlights the costs, threats to national security and surge in crime and illegal drugs under the status quo.

Biden can’t win in November — nor will Democrats succeed down-ballot — so long as his administration is seen as having created a national crisis that undermines the economic and social stability of cities and states across the country, especially New York.

Unless Biden makes a concerted effort to restrict the now porous border, tighten the asylum process and make migrant deportation a very high priority, his party’s chances will be vastly diminished in 2024.

Douglas Schoen was an adviser to President Bill Clinton and to Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign. Andrew Stein (D) served as New York City Council president, 1986-94.

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