For generations, New York City has prided itself as a city of immigrants. We point to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, proclaiming the city as a refuge for the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” But despite the call to “give me your tired, your poor,” New York City is no longer the destination for those in need of a new home and a place to restart their lives, and this is an utter failure.

Last month, the State Department released a list of places where Afghan refugees can choose to be resettled, following two decades of war and turmoil. The 19 cities, ranging from Portland to Atlanta to Buffalo, were selected for their reasonable cost of living, housing availability, supportive services and welcoming communities.

New York City is not on the list.

Immigrants play a major role in New York City’s economy, comprising nearly 40% of the population and 44% of our workforce. In the 1970s, a massive resurgence in immigration here brought the city out of fiscal decline and led its transformation into one of the most prosperous cities in the world. Since then, thriving social and cultural networks have facilitated more immigration, adding to the municipal tax base and funding public services and infrastructure. Immigrant New Yorkers have built up our economy and revitalized neighborhoods by investing in homes, growing small businesses, and more.

Jessica Katz, Executive Director Citizens Housing & Planning Council
October 28, 2021