New evidence suggests that more Russians and Ukrainians are fleeing to New York, with some officials claiming that immigrants are taking advantage of the generous immigration policy in the city under Biden’s control.
Russia-Ukraine War Sparks Exodus to the US
Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, a mass migration of citizens from both countries is flooding the United States, say city officials, immigration experts, and lawmakers.
Russians Seek Asylum at the US-Mexico Border
A significant number of Russians have arrived at the US-Mexico border, hoping to secure asylum. Many have ended up in New York City, which boasts the largest Russian-speaking immigrant population, including Jewish refugees.
NYC Witnesses a Surge in Asylum Seekers
Mayoral spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak confirmed a notable increase in the number of Russians and Ukrainians seeking asylum in New York City since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Welcomed With Open Arms
The city has welcomed these individuals and families, much like the 110,000 asylum seekers who have sought refuge in the city since spring 2022.
Russians Are Among the Top Asylum Seekers
Russian nationals rank as the city’s sixth most prominent group of asylum seekers, comprising 3% of the total. According to the mayor’s office, they follow countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Mauritania in Africa.
Ukrainians Pursue Asylum Through Special Program
Ukrainians seeking asylum are tracked separately through the federal government’s Uniting for Ukraine parole program, which is not included in the city’s origin data.
Advocacy for Stricter Border Policies
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization advocating stricter border policies, noted that Russians are joining others at the Mexican-US border seeking asylum and mentioned that Russians don’t necessarily have the right to immigrate.
The Complex Nature of Asylum Claims
Krikorian stressed that conscription is not a basis for asylum, raising concerns that many Russians in the US are doing so illegally. He suggested that the surge in Russian asylum seekers might be driven by the desire to “Strike while the iron is hot.”
War With Ukraine as a Key Driver
Krikorian acknowledged that the war in Ukraine has significantly driven Russians to seek asylum in the US.
Migrant Shelter in New York City
Recently, six Russian families reportedly stayed at a migrant shelter in New York City, specifically the Paul Hotel on West 29th Street. The hotel was converted into a shelter to accommodate migrants.
Fleeing Mobilization for the War
Leila Usmanov, one of the asylum seekers, stated, “We came here to avoid mobilization for the war,” emphasizing the desire to avoid fighting against fellow Ukrainians and Russians.
Councilwoman Vernikov’s Perspective
Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, representing Russian-speaking communities in southern Brooklyn, expressed no surprise at the increase in asylum seekers from Russia and Ukraine. She noted that the US asylum laws were designed for situations like the current crisis.
Concerns About Exploiting Asylum Laws
Vernikov raised concerns about individuals taking advantage of the asylum system under the current open-border policies, “There is a horrific war going on in the region and our asylum laws were in fact designed specifically for these situations. Unfortunately, under [President] Biden’s open border we’ve had people taking advantage of our `generosity’ and claiming asylum where no legitimate claims exist.”
Perspective of a Jewish Refugee
Councilman Ari Kagan, a Belarus native and former Jewish refugee, pointed out that many Russian migrants are against Putin and the war. He emphasized that some try to avoid the draft, while others see America, particularly New York, as an opportunity to improve their quality of life and economic prospects.
Emphasis on Legal Immigration
Kagan expressed sympathy for Russian migrants but stressed the importance of legal immigration, particularly as New York City already faces overwhelming numbers of migrants.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Marian Weyo. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.