A dispute over New York’s immigration policies earned a slight against a mayor from former President Bill Clinton who derided a Democrat colleague: “…whatever that means.”
Something of a reckoning has manifested in the Empire State and, in particular, the Big Apple as progressive sanctuary city policies have coupled with an unchecked border crisis boiling over at the taxpayer’s expense. In a recent interview with 77 WABC radio’s John Catsimatidis, the state’s resident president spoke to his own efforts to address the crisis and how they conflicted with former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in a blame game attempt to salvage the left’s standing on the issue.
Speaking to a need to amend New York’s “right to shelter” law, Clinton said on “The Cats Roundtable” that the current system for handling so-called asylum seekers doesn’t work because it takes months to obtain work permits. “It’s broken. We need to fix it…It doesn’t make any sense.”
“They come here, and we’re supposed to shelter people who can’t get work permits for six months. We need to change that,” he added, as active court cases have disputed whether New York actually does have an obligation to shelter the tens of thousands of illegal aliens flooding the city. “They ought to work. They need to begin working, paying taxes and paying their way. Most of these people have no interest in being on welfare.”
Of current NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ predecessor de Blasio, the former president asserted offers at help had been dismissed as Hizzoner huffed over progressive credentials. “In the beginning, I tried to help Mayor de Blasio. But he decided that he was…more progressive than he thought I was — whatever that means.”
Meanwhile, amidst the current influx of predominantly Venezuelan illegal aliens in places like Eagle Pass, Texas, Clinton also raised his doubts about efforts from President Joe Biden to expedite the work permit process for select groups.
“He’s trying to do that. Probably somebody will sue him and say, ‘You can’t do that for one group and not another,'” he argued to Catsimatidis.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had recently extended Temporary Protected Status by 18 months for Venezuelans who had entered the country before July 31, 2023, because of safety concerns were they to be deported.
“We have always had a blanket offer of entry into America for people who have a reasonable fear for the lives and safety of their families and themselves. A lot of the Venezuelans can easily make that case,” said Clinton. “…Because there’s no question that the whole country has been consumed by the collapse of effective security and government in the [Venezuelan] Nicolás Maduro administration.”
The former president also acknowledged that with millions estimated to have entered the country since President Joe Biden was inaugurated, something needs to change to account for the waves of illegal entries.
“The [U.S. immigration] system is built to handle about 400,000…We should build more housing just over the Rio Grande, and Mexico, I think, would support that. Keep people there, and let them in as quickly as possible if they are going someplace where we know they can get a job and they’ll be welcome,” Clinton said.
Alongside former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, through their nongovernmental organization Welcome.US, Clinton has worked toward increasing accessibility to travel to the United States for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Ukrainians along with Venezuelans.
Ex-presidents form NGO that will help migrants from around the world enter the United Stateshttps://t.co/HFaOJjxVWj
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) April 26, 2023
Ultimately, as Democrats have worked to maintain their posture of compassion while pushing back on the open border they encouraged, Clinton pointed out that the other side of the aisle has had opportunity for political gain.
“Chaos has been very beneficial for the Republicans.”