New York, a bastion of liberal politics, is increasingly frustrated with Democratic leaders over the migrant crisis, according to a recent Siena College poll. With an alarming 82% of New Yorkers characterizing the crisis as serious, the political ramifications could be significant for Democrats, including Joe Biden, Gov. Kathy Hochul, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
While New York has historically supported sanctuary policies for asylum seekers, the influx of migrants appears to push public sentiment in the opposite direction. According to the poll, an overwhelming 58% of voters in the state believe it’s time to “slow the flow” of migrants. Even within the Democratic base, the divide is palpable. “Democrats, Republicans, Independents, upstaters, downstate, city, suburban, they all agree that this influx is a problem,” said Siena College Pollster Steven Greenberg.
The people of New York are with us. This madness must be stopped.https://t.co/Jjb3XGqqlO
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) August 22, 2023
Biden’s administration was at the bottom of the barrel regarding public opinion, as a dismal 34% approved of its handling of the crisis, compared to a 59% disapproval rate. Closer to home, Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams fared only slightly better. Hochul managed a 35% approval rate, while Adams scraped by with a 31% approval for their handling of the migrant situation. These leaders have been at odds publicly about how to manage the crisis. While Adams has called for distributing migrants to other cities, Hochul argues that New York City is better equipped to handle the influx.
Though Adams and Hochul squabble over the details, the core issue remains unaddressed: the state’s social service network, including schools, is strained by more than 100,000 migrants who have passed through New York City, with 57,000 currently receiving assistance or shelter. The frustration is not confined to city limits; county officials and residents across the state have expressed discontent. Erie County has flatly refused to accept more migrants, citing criminal incidents as the tipping point.
As we head into another election season, these numbers should serve as a wake-up call to the Democratic party. If they are losing the narrative in a deep-blue state like New York, one wonders how this sentiment is replicated nationwide. Republican strategists have already signaled their intent to hold Democrats accountable for the migrant crisis in upcoming campaigns.
Further dampening the Democrats’ outlook is the poll’s revelation that New Yorkers are split on the broader question of migration’s impact on the state. An eye-opening 46% of voters indicated that migration has been more of a burden, versus 32% who saw it as a benefit. This sentiment was echoed by a majority of Republicans and black voters, who said by a 2-to-1 margin that immigration has been more of a burden.