Local Governments Foot The Bill For Immigrants

When one starts digging into the United States immigration system, pressing financial matters start popping up that squash nuanced slogans. The majority of people who speak openly about having a non enforcement type immigration system mostly do it to feel morally superior. After that, they really have no interest in wondering what happens after the cameras leave the U.S. border detailing manufactured stories of people applying for asylum.

What happening is, people who flee to America at the border (for the majority of cases) as asylum applicants or refugees, usually get rounded up and dumped into communities across the United States.

A USA TODAY review of dozens of communities along the border – and some far from it – shows that local governments have spent at least $7 million over the past year to care for thousands of undocumented migrants released after being detained by the federal government. Leaders in those communities say it’s their moral responsibility to care for migrants who are often sick from their time in Border Patrol facilities, exhausted from their journey and usually out of money.

In Deming, New Mexico, federal immigration authorities dealing with overcrowded federal properties have dumped more than 7,500 migrants on the streets of a community with a population of 14,000. Officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico, were already struggling to care for 4,000 homeless people before the federal government released 4,000 migrants there.

“This is not our job to do,” said Pat Davis, a Democratic city councilor in Albuquerque, which budgeted $250,000 this year to help nonprofit groups care for migrants. “People pay city taxes to get their trash picked up, to have the police come when somebody breaks into their house, to put out fires. Now the federal government is telling cities that they have to use local money to fix a national problem.”

The board voted to use county property to house migrants, and has coordinated food, medical care and transportation for more than 17,000 migrants, at a cost of more than $2.7 million so far this year.

During the migrant crisis in 2014, when a wave of unaccompanied minors flooded the southern border, the city of McAllen, Texas, mobilized a massive response to help care for them. The city spent more than $600,000 setting up temporary shelters, installing showers in migrant facilities and helping to transport the migrants, Mayor Jim Darling said.

But after applying for emergency funds through FEMA, the city received only $175,000, or just 29% of what they paid out, and it took several years to receive the first check. Now, as the city’s expenses have topped $1.1 million on the current crisis, Darling said he may be faced with some agonizing budget cuts to other city services.


Published by Hoosier Econ

Located out of Central Indiana. Blogger of economics, politics and societal trends.

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