New York Taxpayers: Who Is The Priority, American Citizens, Or Illegal Immigrants?

Gonzalo Duran
Published on February 27, 2024, 1:08 pm
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The historic Roosevelt Hotel, nestled within walking distance of renowned tourist attractions like Times Square and the Empire State Building, as well as vibrant activities such as Broadway shows and upscale restaurants, once symbolized luxury and cultural significance in the heart of New York City (NYC).

However, amidst the glitz and glamour, a stark reality emerges. Over 100,000 mostly illegal immigrants are currently being housed by NYC using taxpayers’ money, with a relentless influx showing no signs of waning. The Roosevelt Hotel, once a symbol of affluence, is now estimated to accommodate 1,000 or more homeless individuals, many of whom are “asylum seekers”.

The city’s obligation to provide shelter is rooted not only in its status as a sanctuary city but also in a mandated commitment to house anyone in need. In the aftermath of CoViD-19, hotels transitioned from housing virus-infected individuals to accommodating migrants and those in the shelter system, adapting to the shifting demands for housing and shelter.

While this arrangement is widely seen as a temporary solution, viable alternatives seem scarce. During the near-collapse of the hospitality industry amid the pandemic, hotels were repurposed to alleviate the strain on the shelter system, exacerbated by the shortage of affordable housing. The hotel industry, in turn, reaps the benefits, with the city purchasing entire hotels daily.

However, the focus on illegal immigrants and the benefits they receive, including meals, housing, allowances, and now debit cards, has sparked controversy among NYC citizens footing the bill. Many argue that the system appears to favor illegal immigrants over American citizens.

Safety concerns loom large as crime rates escalate within shelters and their surrounding areas citywide. Incidents like attacks on police officers and involvement of a teen asylum seeker in a recent shooting have prompted the implementation of more curfews on shelters in NYC and heightened police presence, even at the Roosevelt Hotel.

Ironically, just steps away from the Roosevelt Hotel, makeshift huts shelter individuals overlooked by the bustling cityscape. This stark contrast serves as a sad reminder of the inequalities ingrained in our city’s fabric.

The uncertainty of whether we will see change or how much worse it will get plagues most New Yorkers, while the city continues to appeal to the state and federal government for financial aid. We continue paying for it, despite our citizenship status; we all contribute through our taxes, our way of life, and cost of living.

The closure of the Roosevelt Hotel to the public underscores its century-long legacy of service to the community, echoing the words of Theodore Roosevelt: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much.”

Gonzalo Duran
As a seasoned professional in both the military and civic realms, Gonzalo Duran brings a wealth of experience to his role as the Chief Executive Officer of Devil Dog USA Incorporated. A former United States Marine Sergeant, he not only leads a non-profit dedicated to supporting Veterans’ reintegration but also holds key positions in Bronx County’s political landscape, including Vice Chairman of the Bronx County Conservative Party and (C) District Leader for the 79th Assembly District. With over a decade as a CEO, Gonzalo is a multifaceted contributor to his community, excelling as an access producer, talk show host, columnist, chaplain, and advocate.