Queens Republican candidates take on migrant crisis: highlight local concerns and border solutions

(Left to right) Dwayne Moore, Yiatin Chu and Paul King at Monday’s press conference.
Photo by Athena Dawson

Three local Republican candidates vying for various local and state government positions held a press conference in Jamaica on Monday to address the city’s current migrant crisis.

Paul King (Congress, D-5), Yiatin Chu (Senate, D-11) and Dwayne Moore (Assembly, D-29) held a press briefing in front of a migrant shelter located at 164-40 Hillside Ave. to address their plans to secure the southern border and combat the negative effects of the migrant crisis on local residents. 

The three candidates spoke about their views on how illegal immigration is affecting residents at the federal, state and local levels. Chu said that since 2022, 175,000 illegal immigrants have come into the city. “Imagine filling up Citi Field Stadium four times. That’s how many people have come into our city in the past two years. It’s costing us $10 billion to keep 65,000 migrants in our system,” she said. 

Yiatin Chu, a Republican running for senate, explains how she would combat the ongoing migrant crisis in New York City. Photo by Athena Dawson

Chu added that the crisis has affected the quality of life in the city and students at local city schools. She visited P.S. 18Q, an elementary school across from the Creedmoor site currently being utilized as a migrant shelter for single men. Chu said she witnessed a plethora of men from the shelter occupying benches and spaces in close proximity to the school. 

Chu’s solution to the migrant crisis is to defund all programs for illegal immigrants, “except the cost of a one-way bus ticket to leave our state.” In addition, Chu said that there needs to be an end to policies that incentivize illegal immigrants to stay. Chu also encouraged the passage of Laken’s Law, which would require law enforcement and courts to notify ICE when an arrested person or defendant is not a U.S. citizen. 

Additionally she added that if elected, she would put a portion of the money that was delegated to migrant shelters towards improving public safety. “It could be community programs such as after-school programs and law enforcement support. We really need to focus on how to change the sentiment of most New Yorkers that are paying taxes, that they are not living in a safe city,” she said.

Meanwhile, King, a Queens resident hailing from Belle Harbor, spoke on the impact of illegal immigration on the federal level. King called the current influx of illegal immigration a failure in government at every level. “At the federal level, it’s not just failure anymore, it’s a betrayal,” he said. He added that it was unfair for Americans who took the legal pathway to citizenship to be undermined by those entering the country illegally. King also added that services given to asylum seekers are taking away funding for schools and veteran programs.

Republican Congressional candidate Paul King speaks at a press conference on Monday outside of a migrant shelter. Photo by Athena Dawson

King said to combat illegal immigration, Congress needs to bring back H.R.2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023. He added that there needs to be a crackdown on drug cartels stemming from Mexico, which King said are bringing fentanyl into the country, which is killing tens of thousands of Americans each year. “It’s like when floodwaters recede, you still have lots of problems. So we need to aggressively cut off the floodwaters, and we need to fix the problems here in New York, and those changes need to come in Albany,” he said.

Dwayne Moore, Republican NYC Assembly challenger for D-29, speaks at Monday’s press conference. Photo by Athena Dawson

Moore echoed the two candidates’ views, adding to the point that funding for migrants is being diverted from important local investments, including New York City and state schools. “ Less than 50% of kids in New York State are reading on grade level. How can we afford to spend billions of dollars on kids and people who are not even our citizens when our own kids are failing? And then on top of that, they’ve added an additional 10,000 migrant kids to an already overstretched school system that already has a historic teacher shortage, where we don’t have enough specialized programs for our kids,” he said. Moore called the current migrant crisis a “five-alarm fire.” He added that although he is not against migrants, he is focusing on a city first approach, with tax dollars being delegated to programs for legal U.S. citizens.