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Hotel debacle shows how US can’t afford to absorb this many illegal immigrants

Last year New York was struggling to absorb 6,000 migrants. Otherwise known as less than one day’s worth of illegal border-crossings at America’s southern border. Now, in 2023, we have something like 28,000 illegal migrants in New York. Otherwise known as about 3-4 days’ worth of illegal crossings at the southern border. As Mayor Adams and everyone else can see, the city is at breaking point.

Just think about that for a moment. Democrat politicians in New York, as across the rest of the country, have insisted for years that “no human is illegal” and a bunch of other simplistic slogans. They made New York a “sanctuary city.” Now they — and all of us — are living the results. And there’s much more to come.

Earlier this week I went to the Watson Hotel on 57th Street to see the police attempt to evict the residents. Those residents are all illegal migrants, mostly from Venezuela, and almost all young men. The city wants the hotel back because it wants to use the space (“Laid-back, with restaurant, gym and rooftop pool”) to house families who have come to the US illegally. The young men in The Watson did not take this news well. There were reports of violence in the hotel as staff and others tried to persuade the migrants to be driven to a facility in Brooklyn.

But the migrants did not want to go to Brooklyn. Among the men I spoke with at The Watson there was serious anger about the change in accommodation. One explained to me that, while they couldn’t get a social security number, many of the men were working in New York’s black market economy. Mostly in bike-delivery services.

That’s a strange thing right there. In recent years Dem politicians insisted on bringing in a minimum-wage for low-paid workers in the city. It put a tremendous strain on some businesses. But now they’ve cut the legs off their own rules by bringing in tens of thousands of people who will work way below the minimum wage and are taking jobs away from law-abiding New Yorkers.

Migrants sleeping outside of the Watson on January 31, 2023.
Gregory P. Mango

In any case, doing this work from Brooklyn was clearly unappealing. One man in his early twenties explained to me that the migrants in The Watson had heard that the Brooklyn accommodation didn’t have very good facilities, that it took a long time to line up for a shower and that some of the men who had gone there were nearly two hour’s train-ride away from their jobs.

This man had been at The Watson for five months and explained that it is simply a lot more convenient to have accommodation in central Manhattan than in deepest Brooklyn. It’s a sentiment that many New Yorkers will share. It’s just that most people don’t get to live in Manhattan for free. Least of all because they have broken the law.

It was not easy to persuade the men onto the buses. The police ranks looked as though they knew they had to be on perfect behavior. One bad moment caught on camera and the whole thing would blow up.

Migrants boarding a bus to go to a facility in Brooklyn on February 1, 2023.
J. Messerschmidt/NY Post
Activists clashing with members of the media outside of the hotel.
Matthew McDermott

So there they stood, patiently waiting for the migrants to leave The Watson and get on the bus. All the while there was a second option, which was to hand your luggage over the barriers to other migrants, open the barriers and walk right past the police and back in front of the hotel where a sort of open buffet and homeless encampment has been set up. It turned out that this option was fine too. Every time this happened the growing group of migrants cheered. This went on for hours.

When I went back yesterday the scene had deteriorated. The place was now a homeless camp where a group of hard-left agitators have decided to come and support the migrants. There is an ugly feeling in the place. When one of the left-wing agitators discovered where I worked she stopped me from speaking with the migrants, threatened me and told me she could find out where I lived. Personally I doubt she could find her own feet, but it was a reminder of the ugly extremists who are now surrounding these men.

As it happens, there is nobody in America who doesn’t feel for people who want to come here. The story of America is of people coming here. But it is the story of people coming here legally, not being encouraged to do so illegally. Everybody feels sorry for the people of Venezuela. Nobody doubts that the people of Venezuela would be happier and better off here in America than in their own country, which left-wing politicians destroyed in a generation.

NYPD and Department of Sanitation officials clearing out the encampment on February 1, 2023.
Christopher Sadowski
People leaving the Watson Hotel as authorities arrived to clear out the area.
Christopher Sadowski
Police outside of the Watson Hotel once the area was cleared of the remaining migrants.
Brigitte Stelzer

But America cannot take in the almost 30 million people who live in Venezuela. It cannot keep encouraging the illegal entry of millions of people from countries across central and southern America. Why? Because as this city is showing, we can’t afford it. Everything will break down. Even the richest cities in America can’t afford it. Eventually you run out of laid-back Manhattan hotels with roof-pools. And then people get pissed.

What has been going at The Watson is a small-scale replay of this country’s immigration system as a whole. You can follow the rules. Or you can not. It doesn’t matter. Your choice. Just know that it is following the rules that will make your situation worse. Breaking them is what brings the rewards.

Revenge of the librarians

It is slowly becoming clear that I am the only person in the United States who doesn’t have classified documents in my house. And I am starting to feel left out.

As this story rumbles on it’s taking people out on both sides of the aisle and people are wondering why. A source tells me that this may simply be the National Archives putting their foot down. Apparently there’s been growing anger there for years at loose handling of documents. Making an example of so many people might be an attempt to teach everyone a lesson.

So the movie version of this debacle would have to be: “When librarians get mad.” Truly terrifying stuff.