Migrant Surge Brings Humanitarian Crisis Home to U.S.
Much has been written about migrants overwhelming homeless shelters in urban centers. Amid the growing strain on temporary housing and other public services, New York City Mayor Eric Adams predicts that migrant-related costs “will destroy” the city.
Political hyperbole aside, the downstream effects on real estate are only beginning to hit home across America. “The struggle to house migrants has exacerbated a pre-existing housing crisis,” the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) warns in a new report.
“Unlike in the past, when migrants arriving without authorization tended to avoid federal authorities, new border entrants have already been processed by the government, so may be more likely to ask for government assistance,” MPI notes.
The Biden administration, at the urging of anxious state and local officials, is expediting the issuance of work permits to record numbers of asylum seekers. This is the camel’s nose under the tent, potentially setting up migrants to access housing assistance like rent subsidies and perhaps even government-backed home loans.
Illinois has already set up a program to fund up to six months of rental assistance for migrants who have passed through publicly funded shelters or hotel stays in the state. Expect more such initiatives to follow, and expand – at the expense of struggling American citizens.
An op-ed in Newsweek blasted “migrant-obsessed legislators [for] another ‘screw you’ to the American people in the form of beefed-up assistance for illegal immigrants. It’s time to call out the policies of President Biden, complicit legislators, and executives of so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ as the anti-American betrayal that they are.”
Beyond Band-Aids like temporary shelters and government-leased hotel lodging, Axios News reported last month that soaring costs fueled in part by incoming waves of migrant families have exacerbated shortages of affordable housing.
Confirming the crunch, Forbes this week said inventories of entry-level dwellings – the type most likely sought by migrants – are at historic lows. “Starter home costs continue on an upward trajectory that has put homeownership further out of reach. The typical first-time homebuyer is nowhere near earning the level of income required to afford a home,” Forbes stated.
With southern border encounters on track to hit a record 3 million this year, (not counting illegal gotaways and some 1 million legal immigrants who are admitted into the U.S. annually), entry-level housing demand is outstripping supply. That means higher prices for everyone and an artificially induced inflationary spiral that benefits no one.
Unfortunately, private-sector “solutions” are proving no better than benighted government schemes. The homebuilding industry’s response to shortages of residential units is to lobby for more semi-skilled migrants to build them. This type of thinking has produced a vicious circle of stagnating or declining wages in some construction fields.
As migrant advocates focus on humanitarian crises around the globe, Newsweek’s op-ed reminds us: “It is not America’s responsibility to house the world.” When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. When waves of migrants swamp a country with fiscal and social upheaval, close the floodgates.