CNA Staff, Sep 26, 2023 / 16:08 pm (CNA).
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said in an interview that President Joe Biden is ignoring his calls about the “tragic, broken” migrant system in the U.S., which has landed tens of thousands of migrants and refugees in New York City, filling shelters to capacity.
“He doesn’t take my calls or answer my letters,” the cardinal told the New York Post.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said last week that 60,000 migrants who crossed the southern border are in New York City, while 10,000 more are expected to come each month. Adams’ office said in a press release last week that since the beginning of the crisis, more than 116,000 migrants have been housed in the city.
In an interview on Sunday, Adams said that if the city doesn’t continue to receive support from the federal government, the outcome for New York City could be “extremely devastating.”
The mayor has been voicing his concerns for the city throughout the overwhelming influx of migrants and said in July: “It’s not going to get any better. From this moment on it’s downhill. There is no more room.”
Commenting on the droves of migrants coming to the city, Dolan told the outlet that “New York just can’t handle them all, we know that.”
“It’s very unfair. This is a New York problem, but it’s not just a New York problem. It is an American problem,” he added.
The cardinal said that he has spoken with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, “a number of times” and “haven’t gotten too much consolation.”
Dolan, however, praised Adams for his efforts during the crisis.
“I give Mayor Adams a lot of credit. He tells us where he needs help,” the cardinal said.
“He’s been very good about rallying religious leaders, asking our help to advocate with the federal government, which has done hardly anything, [and] with the state government, which hasn’t done much,” he added.
In June, the mayor announced a partnership with faith-based organizations to house migrants temporarily.
The Archdiocese of New York has designated 10 facilities for housing migrants, the outlet reported.
In addition to working with asylum-seeking migrant families to address their imminent needs, Catholic Charities has provided resources to help with migrant intake and recordkeeping, Dolan said.
The archdiocese is also providing legal assistance, schooling, and health to the migrants, he added.
“Every day hundreds come in,” Dolan said. “We look them in the eyes, get their names, and we love them and we say, ‘You’re part of us now. You’re not a number.’”
He said, however, that the archdiocese is overwhelmed with cases.
“Like everybody else, we’re squashed,” he said. “But we can’t give up.”
Parishes such as St. Teresa Church and the Church of the Ascension are providing food, clothing, and school supplies, the Post reported.
Dolan said that priests are at those churches ministering to the people, but the current immigration system is “terribly wrecked” and in need of reform.
“The Church has always been very supportive of the right of a nation to have borders and border security … we don’t just want borders where anybody can come in,” he said.
Dolan said the Church has a “high obligation” to care for migrants coming in.
“For us, it’s not so much about politics and policy … we have to leave that to others,” he said. “Our sacred responsibility is to help them. We hate to see these people suffer.”
Dolan could not be reached for comment by Tuesday.
Adams has estimated that taking care of migrants could cost the city $12 billion over three fiscal years.
Last week, the Biden administration approved temporary legal status for large groups of Venezuelan and Afghan migrants, which will allow them to begin working in the United States.
Adams thanked the Biden administration for the move but said the status of many migrants within the city remains to be addressed.
“You know, but we want to be clear: We cannot spike the ball, because this is not going to deal with all of the migrants and asylum seekers who are in this city. We have about 60,000 in our care, 10,000 a month, and many of those new arrivals won’t be able to apply for the TPS [temporary protected status] and for the other benefits of this initiative,” Adams said in his Sunday interview on WABC’s “Up Close With Bill Ritter.”
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