Big-City Mayors Get Border-Wise, Policy Foolish


January 26, 2023

By Brian Lonergan

If the last two years of our self-inflicted border crisis have taught us anything, it’s that many of our elected leaders will never abandon their extreme anti-borders positions, no matter how much evidence accumulates to discredit those positions.

This willful ignorance was on display on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. Correspondent Jonathan Karl convened Eric Adams, Karen Bass, and Sylvester Turner, the mayors of New York City, Los Angeles, and Houston respectively. The interview was ostensibly meant to celebrate the fact that there are now African-Americans running three of the country’s largest cities. When the subject turned to immigration, the answers revealed the kind of thinking that has led to what is fast approaching a national existential crisis.

As the primary recipient of illegal aliens sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Adams’ recent public statements and trip to El Paso suggested he may be seeing the folly of the sanctuary policies New York and many other cities have adopted over the last few years. But the ABC interview showed Adams is still in the grasp of the pro-illegal immigration activists who hold sway in his city. 

“Our national government, Congress, and the White House,” he said, “must do a long-term, comprehensive immigration policy.”

The three mayors mentioned “comprehensive immigration reform” multiple times. “Comprehensive immigration reform” has become the Rorschach test of American politics. Ask 50 people what it means, and you are likely to get 50 different answers.

To these mayors and those of a similar mindset, however, it means only one thing: a sweeping, omnibus bill in Congress that would be tantamount to amnesty for the tens of millions currently in the country illegally, and would remove virtually all barriers from others to migrate here. In the end, legal American residents and the country’s well-being would pay for this largesse, and suffer as a result of it.

Elected leaders like Karen Bass and Eric Adams know that advocating sanctuary policies is a requirement to stay in good standing with their party, so they will likely never abandon them.

Despite her sunny public persona, Bass proved to be the most bitter partisan of the three mayors. Ignoring the overwhelming evidence that Biden Administration immigration policies have caused widespread destruction and suffering, Bass was quick to blame not Biden, but the Republican Party that has been largely out of power the last two years.

“We do need comprehensive immigration reform,” said Bass, reciting the tired phrase. “But look at why we can’t get comprehensive immigration reform? It’s the Republicans who stop it.”

Yes, shame on the opposition party for refusing to rubber-stamp legislation written by anti-borders activists that would serve to bankrupt the country, demolish our national sovereignty, and make the lives of legal residents even more difficult.

The governors who have been sending aliens to New York and other big cities are, according to Bass, “attempting to deliberately undermine New York City and Democratic-run cities that welcome immigrants.” Really? A strong case could be made that these mayors have deliberately damaged their own cities with their illogical support for sanctuary policies.

After decades of uninterrupted leadership by pro-sanctuary mayors and city councils, many of these cities now look like poverty-ravaged war zones. It’s gotten so bad that the Immigration Reform Law Institute now has a running list of the country’s ten most dangerous sanctuary communities. Not surprisingly, New York and Los Angeles occupied the top two positions on the most recent list.

All the mayors expressed outrage with Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for sending aliens to other cities. Turner said any such movement should occur only after “dialogue and collaboration” between leaders of the two jurisdictions. How exactly would that work? Abbott calls Adams and requests to send aliens. Adams, despite his pro-sanctuary positions, says no.

The point of bussing aliens north was never about moving them for the sake of moving them. It was to point out the unfairness of making border states absorb a disproportionate share of the burden that results from abandoned borders. It was also to showcase the hypocrisy of mayors who seek praise for their sanctuary positions, yet balk at the idea of accepting a relatively small number of new arrivals.  

Elected leaders like Karen Bass and Eric Adams know that advocating sanctuary policies is a requirement to stay in good standing with their party, so they will likely never abandon them. Until legal residents vociferously reject those policies and any politician who supports them, expect more of the same.

Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.

Also published at American Greatness, January 26, 2023. Screen capture credit: ABC News.

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