Addressing Our City’s Crisis for Migrants

The ongoing migrant crisis in New York City has been frequently observed, complained, and written about for the past couple months. For these reasons, the Opinions Department compiled a spread of Opinions writers' takes on various questions to gain a glimpse into the Stuyvesant perspective.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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By Rai Chaudhry

Is the media doing an effective job covering the issue?

“I don't think the media is doing an effective job of accurately covering the details, because it presents the crisis through a myopic yet polarizing lens that does little more than to flame the fires surrounding the crisis at the moment. When I hear conversations about the situation, it's from a few people who often hold extreme and narrow perspectives. There's often no empathy for the people involved. It reflects the mishandling of the situation the media has exacerbated, and I feel that there needs to be a shift in how we approach it.”

  • Annie Li, Sophomore, Opinions Writer

“Whenever I do see news about the crisis, I feel as if it focuses on the financial aspect of it rather than the humanitarian side. People like to discuss, and sometimes complain, about how much money Mayor Adams has spent on feeding and housing migrants but often ignore the other side of the conversation about how migrants might feel. Similarly, I often see news articles focusing on the tension among the nationwide politicians involved in the crisis rather than how individuals can take action themselves and help.”

  • Amaryllis Sun, Junior, Opinions Editor

How does your own experience with immigration impact your view of the migrant crisis?

“I come from a family of immigrants. My mother’s side emigrated from Hong Kong, and my father migrated from Indonesia to Australia as a child, coming to America as an adult. Because of this, I recognize the importance of immigration, especially in a country built on it. My family came to America in search of opportunity and a better life, and I fully believe that this option should be available to all who seek it. Immigration in America is a crucial means of maintaining population growth, stimulating the economy, and diversifying the nation. However, I think that immigration should happen through legal, documented means. Reforming the immigration intake system to ensure that migrants are processed quickly would cut down on illegal immigration. An open, unregulated border is unsustainable in the long run.”

  • Kiran Soemardjo, Sophomore, Opinions Writer

“My grandmother and grandfather immigrated to America from India in the 1960s. Therefore, I’ve always felt a touch removed from the topic of immigration, since I’m neither first nor second generation. But I know how hard my grandparents worked when they came to this country: starting from scratch with a new kind of medicine, college, and residency. I know the future that they were fighting for. Perhaps not everyone would achieve the same amount of success as my grandparents, but knowing them, I believe everyone deserves that chance.”

  • Riya Sundaram, Junior, Opinions Writer

How is the migrant crisis affecting NYC? How has our city and Mayor Adam’s response succeeded or failed?

“Every time that I ride on the 7 train, it's certain that I have seen at least three separate chocolate sellers, children strapped to their backs. The situation is disheartening, considering that not only has it burdened New York’s budget but also has led to unsavory attitudes towards Hispanic and immigrant communities. For Mayor Adams, the migrant influx has been, and will be, the final nail in the coffin. For many New Yorkers and undocumented immigrants, his response has been too little, too late; voters’ minds have been stained by his other shaky policies and now the legacy of these. It is certain that even us NYC students have grown resentment, whether it's for poorly planned snow days or this harrowing migrant situation.”

  • Myles Vuong, Sophomore, Opinion Writer

“As someone who comes from a family of immigrants, I find it difficult to fully resonate with Mayor Eric Adams’ opinions on the migrant crisis. His concerns regarding the financial burden imposed by this crisis are valid; the current number of migrants entering the city cannot continue. However, it is equally important to be cautious about the language used to address such issues. According to the New York Times, the mayor stated point blank that “the immigrants will ruin the city” and “the city will never be the same.” New York City was built upon the blood, sweat, and tears of immigrants from around the world, and this city would not be the melting pot that it is without these generations of migrants. We simply cannot ignore the benefits that immigration brings to the city.”

  • Kiran Soemardjo, Sophomore, Opinions Writer

“I have recently heard about the migrant crisis, both through the news as well as listening to This American Life with my mother. Though different outlets have plenty of different takes on the migrant crisis, the ones I’ve heard give immense sympathy to the immigrants of New York City. New York City is a city of immigrants, not all first-generation, but second or third. I believe that this crisis will not reflect well on Mayor Adams’ reelection.”

  • Riya Sundaram, Junior, Opinions Writer

“While city services and shelters have been overwhelmed this winter, the New York City community has stepped up. Across the boroughs, New Yorkers have set up mutual aid drives for winter clothes and handed out warm food on cold days in order to welcome newcomers. Many have chosen to actively reject the dehumanizing language surrounding the migrants used by elected officials. Instagram posts calling for hats, scarfs, coats, and socks refer to the asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants coming to NYC as “our new neighbors.” 

The Stuyvesant community has participated in these efforts too! ARISTA and the group ‘Teens For 9 Million Reasons’ have mobilized students to volunteer at the 9 Million Reasons food pantry in Queens to distribute food and clothes to those in need, and the ACLU Chapter at Stuyvesant recently held a mutual aid drive that collected toiletries and winter clothes for migrants in a box on the 3rd floor.”

  • Helen Mancini, Junior, Opinions Editor

What is the way forward?

“[I propose] the Common Sense Solution:

Throughout the 21st century, immigration policy has largely been partisan. Even now, across the political aisle, lawmakers have once again kicked the ball down the road on the universally accepted migrant crisis. My three-step solution is practical; however, it will take legwork from moderates and centrists to drive better bipartisan change. To start off, Congress needs to fund and support an immediate shutdown at the Southern Border. Through the employment of I.C.E. or the National Guard, the U.S. can prevent our inundated immigration system from further clogging, while saving and discouraging the dangerous journey for many migrants. Along with this, the Federal Government should remove deportation for current undocumented migrants based solely on the legality of their immigrant status. The practice has always been cruel, leaving migrant families separated and DREAMers lost in the system. It would also mean that immigration workers can be reallocated towards jobs like visa processing or law enforcement at the border. Second, it’s imperative that we widen the net for legal refugee status, amnesty, and green card applications; the U.S. is  in need of both high-skilled and low-skilled workers, and as a country of immigrants, it’s necessary we allow for larger pools of migrants to come. This would also help curb the amount of undocumented immigration. Finally, both as the “leader of the free world” and as a way to further de-incentivize, the U.S. ought to send humanitarian aid towards migrants’ home countries. Millions emigrate to America due to economic malaise and devastating political strife in countries like El Salvador and Guatemala. If the U.S. can support healthy democracy across South and Central America, we can continue to better lives domestically and abroad.”

  • Myles Vuong, Sophomore, Opinion Writer