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New Jersey Governor Says State Does Not Have Resources to Support Influx of Migrants From New York

Published: September 6, 2023
Migrants reach for food being handed out while filmed by a woman outside of the Roosevelt Hotel where dozens of recently arrived migrants have been camping out as they try to secure temporary housing on August 02, 2023 in New York City. (Image: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

On Sept. 31, New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, said that his state does not have the resources to support an influx of migrants from New York, after the Biden administration reportedly suggested relocating migrants to the Atlantic City International Airport. 

The airport is one of 11 federal sites the Biden administration included on a list supplied to New York’s mayor, Eric Adams, of potential places where a large number of migrants could be potentially housed.

Murphy’s comments have been interpreted as contradictory to his previous statements when he said that New Jersey would become a “sanctuary” state for immigrants under his government. 

Murphy, speaking on “Ask Governor Murphy,” on News 12 said, “I don’t see any scenario where we’re going to be able to take in a program in Atlantic City or frankly elsewhere in the state … You need scale, enormous amount of federal support, resources that go beyond anything that we can afford,” adding that, “Putting everything else aside, I just don’t see it. I would suspect that that will continue to be the case.”

Where to house the influx of thousands of migrants — many who illegally crossed into the U.S. and were bussed to the state by Texas governor Greg Abbott — has become an urgent issue and has even pitted New York’s governor, Kathy Hochul, and New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, against each other.


‘We’re a poor county’

The suggestion to send them to Atlantic County, one of the poorest counties in New Jersey, has drawn bipartisan condemnation by local politicians.

In an interview, Republican Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said, “All I can say is that I will do my best to prevent this from happening. We can’t afford it. We’re a poor county. We’re one of the poorest counties in New Jersey. It’s not a burden I can put on our taxpayers,” Politico reported.

Murphy says that the federal government needs to step up to “responsibly and humanely secure our borders,” in addition to creating a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented people and to overhaul the country’s legal immigration process.

“We’ve always been a nation of immigrants, but that doesn’t mean it can be the Wild West,” Murphy said. 

Asylum seekers board a bus en route to a shelter at Port Authority Bus Terminal on May 18, 2023, in New York City. (Image: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Illegal border crossings surge

Meanwhile, despite decreases in illegal border crossings in May and June this year, the numbers have surged once again in August.

According to The Washington Post, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducted 177,000 arrests between ports of entry in August, up considerably from 132,652 in July and 99,539 in June.

While the Biden administration has implemented a slew of new policies intended to limit the flow, including parole policies, increased Title 8 enforcement and new asylum rules that limit claims, they do not appear to be effective.

In July, DHS Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, “Our approach to managing the borders securely and humanely even within our fundamentally broken immigration system is working. Unlawful entries between ports of entry along the southwest border have consistently decreased by more than half compared to the peak before the end of Title 42.”

The Biden administration is blaming “seasonal trends” for August’s surge in illegal border crossings telling the Post that the country “is seeing ebbs and flows of migrants arriving fueled by seasonal trends and the efforts of smuggler to use disinformation to prey on vulnerable migrants and encourage migration.”