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Op-Ed: Why no room at the inns? Feds filled ’em with people here illegally

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Those planning a sightseeing tour in one of America’s largest cities this summer may find it difficult to book a hotel room in or near the city, and the reason has nothing to do with increased tourism or business travel.

The U.S. government, in cooperation with sanctuary cities, have co-opted a growing number of hotels as temporary housing for the crush of people living in or entering the country illegally.

The epicenter of this phenomenon is New York City, which has been in crisis mode since buses of migrants began arriving steadily in the summer of 2022. Since then, the city has tried tent cities, homeless shelters, cruise ship terminals, airports and schools as living space for those here illegally.

Hotels, however, have emerged as the city’s go-to option. There are more than 16,000 hotel rooms in and around the Big Apple housing those who have come to America illegally. Many of the rooms are in hotels being used solely for migrants. Approximately 140 hotels in the region have either temporarily or permanently been taken out of inventory and are not available to regular travelers.

The hotels being used vary in size and rating, from spartan motel properties in the Bronx to opulent Manhattan high-rises. One of the latter, The Row hotel near Times Square, has 1,331 rooms used exclusively for migrants. Last year Felipe Rodriguez, an employee at The Row, went public with details of how the new guests were treating the hotel. He described a hellish environment infested with drugs, sex and violence.

“Chaos, total chaos,” he told Fox News. “There’s no accountability. The city’s so-called running the program and allows these people to destroy these rooms. There is no daily supervision to show these people that … you don’t destroy your hotel. You are only there temporarily. This is not your home.”

Despite the mayhem, the hotels have embraced the opportunity to house the migrants, but it isn’t being done out of a sense of compassion. The cities have contracts with the hotels which essentially guarantee to fill all the rooms in the properties. This represents a more lucrative financial model than relying on conventional travelers to occupy the rooms. At The Row, for example, the hotel is receiving around $650,000 per night to house the migrants.

In Chicago, another committed sanctuary city, reporter William Kelly tried to enter a downtown luxury hotel being used for migrants and was quickly escorted out by staff. “You’re not a resident here,” he was told. Kelly reported that the lobby was packed with new furniture and lamps, presumably to handle the foreign nationals who have filled the hotel to maximum capacity.

Since cities like New York and Chicago are tapped out financially as a result of the influx, an obvious question would be who is paying for all these accommodations. The answer would be you, the taxpayer. The Biden administration is acting as a benefactor for the housing, allocating more than $770 million for New York, Chicago and other large sanctuary cities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In addition to being a highly controversial use of finite public resources, this housing push comes with predictable bad consequences. Criminal activity in and around the hotels has become an almost daily occurrence. New York police have detailed how members of the brutal Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua have entered the U.S. illegally and recruit new members among the migrant population at hotels and other shelters. The gang is reportedly behind a wave of robberies where bandits on mopeds are stealing people’s smartphones, draining victims’ bank accounts, and making purchases. The phones are eventually sent to South America to be reprogrammed and sold.

Not far from The Row hotel in Times Square, a group of migrants viciously beat two New York Police Department officers in an incident caught on video in January. Those arrested had numerous prior criminal offenses and, in keeping with New York’s permissive law enforcement policies, all were released without bail.

Nowhere in the government’s support of these practices is there any evidence of concern for the legal residents of these cities. Their hometowns have been turned into war zones as Latin American gangs set up criminal enterprises that prey on residents. The astronomical costs of housing so many migrants is now being absorbed not just by residents of sanctuary cities, but also by American citizens in faraway places who likely do not support the madness of sanctuary policies.

Not only do large cities and the federal government not represent the American people, they are actively working to undermine the people and destroy their communities. So don’t bother visiting a large metropolitan city this summer. There probably isn’t a hotel room available for you there anyway.

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