America's immigration crisis laid bare: in-depth analysis reveals the impact of 4.9 MILLION illegal border crossings since Biden took office


August 26, 2022

New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco are ranked as the top five most dangerous sanctuary cities.


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  • Some 4.9 million people have entered the U.S. illegally since January 2021, including 900,000 who slipped in undetected, says immigration watchdog
  • New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco are ranked the top five most dangerous sanctuary cities by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI)
  • Guards on South West border seized one ton of fentanyl in July — enough for 469 million lethal doses
  • Immigrants drawn by potential ten-fold wage bumps and 9.8 million private sector job openings, says think tank
  • Newcomers arriving in Manhattan told they came to work, but New Yorkers say the city is already struggling with rising crime and homelessness
  • Arizona cattle rancher sues Biden administration for turning a blind eye as cartel thugs maraud across his land


Immigration watchdogs say nearly 4.9 million unauthorized immigrants have entered the U.S. since President Joe Biden took office last year, and have branded New York and Los Angeles as the country's most dangerous sanctuary cities.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) says the record flow of people into the U.S. since Biden's inauguration includes 3.4 million crossings at the southwest border and 900,000 others who slipped in there undetected.

The startling number adds to growing unease that the Biden administration is asleep at the wheel as record numbers cross the southern border, along with drugs and terror suspects, nudging a majority of Americans to conclude that this amounts to an 'invasion'.

FAIR’s president Dan Stein said the nearly-5 million human inflow amounted to the 'entire population of Ireland' entering the U.S. illegally since 20 January, 2021. He accused the administration of the 'sabotage of our nation's immigration laws'.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), a hawkish watchdog, has ranked New York, L.A. and Chicago as among the 'worst' U.S. cities for offering criminal unauthorized immigrants sanctuary from deportation and prosecution. 

IRLI says New York has 'doubled down' on its sanctuary policies to go from second in the rankings in 2019 to top spot. Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco rounded out the top five. 

IRLI director Dale Wilcox accused the cities of 'poor leadership' by repeatedly refusing to hand over suspects to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), making urban residents endure 'more crime, fear and death'. 



Drone camera footage of migrants, mostly from Mexico and Central America, has put Democrats on the back foot, downplaying Biden's policies as contributing to the record-breaking migration numbers. 

Customs and Border Protection's migrant encounter tracker for the fiscal year has crossed the 2 million mark for the first time in U.S. history. An Ipsos survey found 53 percent of people said human flows at the border amounted to an 'invasion'.

In recent weeks, migrants have even been caught trying to cross the border in camouflage suits, and southern Republican-led states are making a show of bussing immigrants to Democrat-led northern cities. 

Republicans say Biden's failure to visit the southern border since taking office last year proves that he does not take the migration crisis seriously and is not working hard enough to address the humanitarian issues facing border communities.

The administration last month said it had authorized completion of the U.S.-Mexico border wall near Yuma, Arizona. Biden pledged during his campaign to stop wall construction, but the administration later agreed to some barriers, citing safety. 

Against this backdrop, examines the key issues surrounding America's immigration crisis and is giving readers the chance to vote in our poll about whether the Biden administration is meeting the challenge.

Sanctuary Cities  

The unfolding immigration crisis has spotlighted U.S. cities that offer undocumented aliens some type of sanctuary, by limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents to protect low-priority immigrants from deportation.

Sanctuary policies — which can also cover counties and whole states — have become controversial. Supporters say they improve communities, as unauthorized immigrants are able to cooperate with local police without fear of deportation.

Still, the federal agency ICE and advocates of tighter border security say sanctuary policies, some of which go back as far as the 1980s, shield undesirables, including foreigners accused of rape, murder, firearms offenses and even terrorism-related crimes. 

'Sanctuary policies lead to more crime, fear and death,' said IRLI's Wilcox.

'The leaders of these communities should not escape accountability for the damage they have caused. Their residents deserve much more.' 

The right-leaning watchdog has ranked New York as the 'worst' U.S. city for offering criminal illegal immigrants sanctuary from prosecution or being kicked out of the country. 

IRLI says New York has 'doubled down' on its sanctuary policies to go from second in the rankings in 2019 to top spot. It cited local laws granting non-citizens voting rights to the release of thousands of criminal illegal immigrants onto its streets.

In L.A., city officials have in recent years handed over to ICE only 5 percent of the suspects the agency was seeking, IRLI says. The city's jails refused to hand over more than 25,000 undocumented foreign criminals in 2000.

The same goes for Chicago, where the population of elderly undocumented immigrants is set to reach 55,000 by the end of the decade — and many of them benefit from free healthcare, IRLI says. 

ICE raided the city several times between August and September in 2020, arresting 88 undocumented foreign criminals responsible for everything from murder to armed robbery and drug trafficking. They were all living at large.

Senior ICE official Tony Pham said at the time that those apprehended posed a 'significant threat to public safety' and bashed Chicago's sanctuary rules. 

'These terrible policies protect dangerous criminals and street gang members over Chicago's own citizens,' said Pham.

In San Francisco last year, sanctuary rules protected repeat offender Carlos Claros even after he tried to rob a family of 18 at gunpoint, IRLI says.  

Former ICE acting chief Tom Homan, now an IRLI fellow, says sanctuary policies only help criminals.

'Immigrant communities don't want criminals in their neighborhoods either,' said Homan.

'Victims and witnesses of crime don't want the offender back in their communities to seek revenge.'

 Buses from Texas and Arizona 

The Republican governors of border states Texas and Arizona, respectively Greg Abbott and Doug Ducey, in Spring announced plans to send busloads of migrants to Washington D.C. to pressure Biden over his immigration policies. 

Texas has bussed more than 7,000 migrants to Washington D.C. and more than 900 to New York. Arizona has sent more than 1,500 migrants to the capital in 41 trips, as of August 22.

Mayors Eric Adams of NYC and Muriel Bowser of D.C. are denouncing the program and calling for outside help — including from the National Guard. 

Images are emerging weekly of more buses arriving at the Big Apple's Port Authority Bus Terminal with migrants disembarking following their trip from the Lone Star State.

Arrivals from the border will be housed temporarily on taxpayers' dime at 14 hotels across the city. Some received school supplies and free phones at handouts in the Bronx, according to The New York Post.

In total, more than 4,000 migrants have already arrived in the Big Apple's five boroughs in recent weeks, putting strain on the already overburdened shelter system.

Estimates for the overall cost on the city run into hundreds of millions of dollars each year. 

New York residents living near a shelter for asylum seekers in Harlem told they were worried about an influx in a city that was already struggling with homelessness, high crime and costly housing.

Gail Harper, 85, a retired shop assistant, mum of four and now a great-grandmother, said her Harlem neighborhood was already overcrowded with 'undesirables' and homeless people erecting makeshift tents in nearby parks.

'Why are they gonna have so many more of them come in here? And there's so many homeless that's out there now,' Harper said, recalling when she moved to the area in the 1970s, when it 'didn't have all the homeless and shootings'.

Juan Manuel, 69, a retired publisher who lives blocks from the shelter, said he feared the influx would raise crime levels in the city, where a spike in shootings and murders in July fueled a 31 percent increase in the city's crime rate.

'We don't know anything about them. We don't know if they're criminals,' said Manuel.

'These refugees can come to those shelters and find they're not such safe places inside, they're worried about stuff being stolen or being stabbed, and so they go and live on the streets instead.' 


NYC Mayor Eric Adams is seen at the Port Authority bus terminal in midtown Manhattan on August 6, handing out supplies to the new immigrant arrivals from Texas.

Life at the Border 

Those living close to the border have seen their lives upended by people-flows. 

Steven Chance Smith, an Arizona cattle rancher, says migrants crossing the border leave trash and set fires on his land — though he is more vexed by the drug cartels.

Smith is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Biden administration and other government agencies that an open-door migration policy has made their lives uncomfortable and breached federal environmental rules.

'Men with what we think must be gang tattoos on their faces can show up, and break into our house at any time, and we witness drug smugglers packing dope going through our property,' Smith said in court papers.

'My wife is often, quite reasonably, scared to death.'

Other plaintiffs in the case say the Biden administration is letting in so many immigrants that the resulting population growth is harming environments across the country. 


Drugs and a loose border   

Most illicit drugs available in the U.S. are smuggled into the country across the nearly 2,000-mile southwest frontier with Mexico, according to the Justice Department. 

Vast flows of people across the border make it harder for guards to prevent narcotics and suspected members of terrorist groups from entering the country. 

At the southwest border in Fiscal Year 2022, guards have apprehended 66 people on the FBI terror watch list, FAIR says. 

In July, they seized 6.5 tons of methamphetamine and 1 ton of fentanyl — enough for 469 million lethal doses.

Seizures of the five main drugs — cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana — were down by about 1 percent from seizures in June.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021.


The poll shows that more than half of Americans think there is an 'invasion' while another one-third expressed worry over being 'replaced' by illegal immigrants

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