New Yorkers are running out of patience with the ongoing migrant crisis, according to a new poll which found that 82% of Empire State residents consider the ongoing influx of asylum seekers a “serious problem.”
A hefty majority of respondents in the poll, conducted by Siena College Research Institute, said that New York State should be working to stop the flow of migrants — with 58% saying leaders should keep migrants out of the state, compared with 36% saying they should continue allowing the influx of refugees.
Meanwhile, by a 46-32% margin, respondents claimed that migrants arriving in New York over the past two decades have been more of a “burden” than a “benefit” to the state.
Conducted by the Siena College Research Institute, the poll contacted 803 registered voters in New York State between Aug. 13 and Aug. 16, before researchers statistically adjusted the pool of respondents (based on age, education, income levels, and more) to better match the total population of the state.
“New Yorkers – including huge majorities of Democrats, Republicans, independents, upstaters and downstaters – overwhelmingly say that the recent influx of migrants to New York is a serious problem for the state,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
Migrants in New York City vs. State
The poll also touched on the hot-button political issue of where to house migrants within the state.
City residents, led by Mayor Eric Adams, have called on the state to help ease the burden on the Big Apple by relocating refugees to other areas in the state — which comes as over 100,000 migrants (more than the population of Albany) have arrived in the five boroughs since last spring.
When asked about potentially taking those actions, 50% of respondents supported that idea — including hefty majorities of both Democrats and city residents. Republicans and non-city residents were less inclined to agree.
A group of advocacy organizations recently signed onto a letter urging Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration to bar local governments from issuing preventative directives that would keep migrants out of their counties.
For her part, Hochul has been supportive of working to spread migrants out across the state, but also noted that there were both legal and humanitarian concerns surrounding the subject.
“Let’s be very clear, you cannot involuntarily take people from the city and send them all over the State of New York,” the governor said in an Aug. 16 interview with NY1. “They have a right to decide where they want to go once they get here. We can’t just ship them all over against their will.”
Within city limits, just under 59,000 asylum seekers are currently receiving care from the New York City shelter system.
Big Apple leadership has opened over 200 new sites across the five boroughs to deal with the influx of new arrivals, and local leaders just recently received the go-ahead from the federal government to utilize the former airfield at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field — which will provide shelter for an additional 2,000 migrants.
Because the city has seen a uniquely high number of migrants relative to the other 57 counties in New York State, the local coffers have taken a big hit — with the city spending over $1.73 billion already on the crisis, and figuring to spend over $12 billion over the next three fiscal years, without more federal and state help.
Siena’s recent poll makes it clear that voters are becoming increasingly wary, and the problem is becoming a political one as well — which has only served to fuel the infighting between various levels of government.
“Quite honestly, while our compassion is limitless, our resources are not,” Adams said on Aug. 16. “New York City cannot continue to manage largely on our own.”