". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


As Illegal Immigration Grows, Cities Are Overwhelmed, ‘Out of Room’

February 16, 2024

The U.S. cities that have declared themselves “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants are supposed to be places where a city council or mayor declares welcoming policies for migrants coming into the country. However, many of these regions are getting overwhelmed and running out of room as they use hotels, airports, schools, and other public facilities to house the millions of illegal immigrants streaming in through the southern border. One of the most impacted metro areas is New York City, which has been overrun by the thousands of migrants.

Since 2022, over 150,000 migrants have landed in the Big Apple, and NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D) recently shared with Fox News, “Our hearts are endless, but our resources are not.” He added, “We’re out of room, literally. People are going to be eventually sleeping on the streets.” Despite the roughly 92,000 homeless people already living in New York, it appears the idea of illegal immigrants having to sleep on the streets is unacceptable for some.

Boston has also been overwhelmed by their presence, and in an effort to provide shelter for them, some have voluntarily opened their homes — an act Democrats believe “everyone should be” doing as a “shared responsibility,” Fox reported. Only time will tell how common this becomes.

Even though most sanctuary cities are already on maxed out in space and taxpayer dollars, the circumstances could get worse. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is meant to enforce laws governing border control and immigration, recently drafted a proposal “to release thousands of illegal migrants and lower its capacity to detain them,” The Daily Wire wrote. Due to budget issues, there are currently 38,000 detention beds that the proposal would cut down to 22,000.

These potential changes are especially concerning as the number of illegal immigrant crossings are expected to rise with warmer weather. This spike would likely only contribute to the lack of space, increased crime, and rising terror threats the country has faced in recent months.

But some authorities, like Adams, feel their ability to act is limited. Adams emphasized, “I cannot break the law and enforce the law. I can’t deport. I can’t stop people from coming in [with] repeated criminal behavior. I can’t report to ICE for deportation.” But despite this, he still claimed the crisis will not “destroy New York City.”

Considering the political mountain this issue has grown into, David Closson, director of Family Research Council’s Center for Biblical Worldview, commented to The Washington Stand, “It’s interesting, in a presidential election year when we normally don’t see a lot of significant pieces of legislation moving, to see immigration front and center.”

He continued, “Chicago officials earlier this week said they’ll need an additional $321 million to cover the price of caring for thousands of immigrant’s food, health care, [and] housing.” It’s a “political quagmire that has troubled both parties for decades” he added, pointing out that it’s “not a new issue.”

However, Closson emphasized that “the surge” we’ve seen recently has initiated “a tipping point where you’re even seeing liberal cities with sanctuary city policies … having to say that ‘this is untenable [and] unsustainable because it’s putting so much pressure on our public resources that we cannot continue with these policies.’”

As cities are overwhelmed and left wondering what to do, many are wondering how Christians should view these circumstances. As Closson insisted, “to love our neighbor” seems like a simple answer. But it’s important to ask, “who is my neighbor?”

He shared that the answer to that is in Luke 10 with the parable of the Good Samaritan. “[F]rom Jesus’s parable, we realize that we do have some level of responsibility to everyone,” he said. “However, we do have a first responsibility to those in our care,” which is a principle found in Roman’s 13. For Closson, this then raises the question, “Does a Christian ethic require us to welcome anyone who shows up on our border?” To which he said no.

Ultimately, Closson stated that illegal immigrants are to be seen as made in the image of God and having inherent value. But “when you look at what’s happening right now with our southern border … [and] in sanctuary cities, you can’t say with a straight face that it’s benefiting the people of this country,” he said. He emphasized that, especially as we see sanctuary cities become increasingly overwhelmed, now is the time to reassess who’s well-being should be prioritized.

Closson concluded that Christians and conservatives “should affirm that all people are made in God’s image. But that does not negate our primary responsibility to members of our own family, people in our own communities, [and] citizens of our own country.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.