Twilight Zone: Hochul Calls for Border Security, Chides Republicans for Blocking It

Twilight Zone: Hochul Calls for Border Security, Chides Republicans for Blocking It

Editorial credit: Ron Adar /

Austin C. Jefferson | February 22, 2024 | City & State New York

Gov. Kathy Hochul, appearing at Politico’s Governors Summit in Washington D.C., said that Democratic policy on immigration has become more open to compromise and border protections as more migrants cross into the United States. New York, “a very tiny, generous state,” needs relief as more and more asylum-seekers arrive there in search of liberty and economic opportunity.

Hochul and other top New York officials like New York City Mayor Eric Adams have characterized the crisis as a federal issue. Unfortunately for them, a federal solution collapsed in Congress due to GOP infighting, even after the Senate appeared to reach a border deal with major concessions from Democrats.

“I miss the Tea Party,” Hochul said. “I miss John Boehner, I miss people that you could actually work with and get things done.”

She blamed former President Donald Trump’s sway on the party, even while out of office, for torpedoing a deal that could have brought relief to New York and other states accommodating the migrant influx. Democrats say Trump opposed the deal because it would have helped President Joe Biden politically.

Hochul said Trump “whispers in their ears and all of a sudden they’re terrified,” even more of a reason, she added, to ensure Democrats win back seats in New York and help retake Congress. Republicans currently hold a seven-seat majority, soon to be six after Long Island Rep.-elect Tom Suozzi is sworn in. Suozzi successfully campaigned on conservative immigration policy.

New York’s Republican congressional delegation, Hochul added, also had a role to play in fixing things. GOP Congress members have criticized both New York’s handling of the migrant crisis and its sanctuary status. There was also pushback when New York City bussed migrants to upstate municipalities and outcry following an alleged attack on New York City Police Department officers in Times Square. (Body camera footage leading up to that confrontation complicated the narrative, showing that police first physically detained a migrant man as he followed their orders to disperse.) Hochul said rather than “grandstand,” Republican members of the delegation could demand a solution from their leaders in Washington.

“We had 10 Republicans who could have walked into the Speaker’s office and said, ‘We’re going to form our own little freedom-type caucus and we expect you to listen to us because between the 10 of us we have a lot of clout. Our state needs the help, our state needs the relief it needs the financial support – we want protections at the border,’” Hochul said. “So the fact that they’re incapable of doing that, malpractice in governance, meant that Biden had to step up.”

President Joe Biden is reportedly considering executive action on the southern border. Though the ongoing humanitarian crisis unfolding in New York is not nationally unique, over 170,000 migrants have entered the state since 2022 and policymakers have expressed concern over providing the necessary care and amenities to people who need housing, health care and education to get on their feet. Immigrant populations are known to ultimately be good for the economies where they live, but according to Hochul, the situation can’t remain as it is.

“Without compromising our values, and we’re proud to have the Statue of Liberty in our harbor, but we also have to have some common sense regulations at the border on who’s able to come and also more border security for those who plan to breach the border and come illegally,” she said.

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