Michael Lind: Democrats Revive Blue Cities with Infusions of Poor Migrants

A group of migrants wait in line after arriving from Texas, outside Port Authority Bus Ter
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The major Democratic-run cities cannot survive without their Ponzi scheme of low-wage migration, says author Michael Lind.

“An international migration Ponzi scheme is the only thing that averts a demographic doom loop for cities like New York and San Francisco,” as Americans flee the Democrats’ huge and badly-run cities, Lind wrote in the September 26 article for Compact Magazine.

“It is time for the euthanasia of the [immigration-addicted] city — by, among other things, stopping the urban immigration Ponzi scheme,” he said.

Democratic mayors pretend to oppose the unpopular migration while calling for more migrants and more federal funds to help replace the Americans who leave the corrupt, expensive, and badly run cities, said Lind:

There is one thing that Democratic mayors in New York, Washington, and Chicago are not doing — and that is calling for a reduction in the numbers of immigrants waved in under various categories expanded by the Biden administration. Instead, Democratic urban politicians like Adams are merely calling on the federal government to subsidize the costs created by the influx and to make it easier for the migrants to join the urban labor force. To put it another way, Democratic cities want to nationalize and socialize the costs of mass low-wage migration, while localizing the benefits.

Lind is a former establishment advocate, who has zig-zagged towards populism in the last several years.

Most cities were built around industrial-age factories, but post-industrial employers quit the cities and moved their workplace out to the suburbs, he wrote.

A few cities have survived that loss by building a “rentier” economy around an executive-level workforce who oversee distant investments in many businesses, such as healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, or services.

In turn, the elite management class is supported by many professionals, and by a huge population of disposable, low-wage service workers. The service workforce of Americans — alongside many poor legal or illegal migrants — hold low-productivity food, sanitation, delivery, and retail jobs.

This structure is a bonanza for privileged economic groups in the cities:

The rentier cities have come to depend on a constant influx of new immigrants from other countries to replace the immigrants and natives who move out in search of lower prices or higher wages. Low-wage immigrants are welcome as servants for the urban managerial elite, tenants for urban slumlords, clients for public agencies and nonprofits, riders for mass transit, and taxpayers for urban governments.

The — but much-ignored — civic problem of the immigration-stuffed cities is that they simultaneously drive down wages and push up housing costs. That process leaves Americans and immigrants unable to afford homes for families, and it pushes them — and their few children — out to lower-opportunity cities in heartland states.

The New York Times, for example, recently described the tenement-like housing that contributed to the murder of an immigrant by another immigrant:

The apartment had three rooms; Ms. Zhao and her children occupied one, a single person lived in a second, and a 9-year-old boy took up the third with his father, who was charged in the killing. The families had argued over the state of the kitchen and bathroom, and internet access — the various inconveniences and deprivations that come with living on top of one another.

Overcrowding is common in the neighborhood. Ms. Zhao and her family “were trying their best to survive, to make rent, to have every room occupied,” said Alexa Aviles, the City Council representative in Sunset Park. The city has turned away from these realities, she told me, “even as it knows that overcrowding is problematic.”

To some extent that is vastly understating things. A few years ago, a fire in another apartment building in Sunset Park revealed the scope and hardship of the situation, given that there were roughly 160 people living in 40 small units. Those families are now dispersed throughout the city, their community and social networks having dissolved.

The same housing problem is expanding to American towns because the Democrats’ cities are trying to offload their poorest populations to nearby towns. Breitbart News reported on September 19:

Officials in Rockland County, New York, announced Monday that they are taking legal action against a landlord for allowing her single-family rental home to become a “migrant flophouse” housing some 31 illegal border crossers.

The illegals — from Ecuador and Guatemala — were discovered when county officials launched a surprise inspection of the residence in the Clarkstown hamlet of New City, which is on the banks of the Hudson River.

“We knew something was amiss. What we saw was so bad. This was by far the worst flophouse we’ve seen,” he added, calling the situation “unacceptable.”

Lind’s article is titled “The Sanctuary City’s Ponzi Scheme.”

This migrant-exploitation economy is perfumed by the city establishment’s Cold War-era narrative that Americans’ homeland is really a “Nation of Immigrants.”

“We’re nothing if we’re not a nation of immigrants,” Democrat leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told a December 2020 online meeting of business leaders who have been made wealthy by exploiting migrants. He continued:

Immigrants built this country with their hands, enriched our culture with their minds and spirit, and provided the spark that drives our economy …

Many of you may not know this; My middle name is Ellis. Guess what? I was named after Uncle Ellis, who was named after Ellis Island, and in keeping with that tradition, our second daughter, we chose her middle name to be Emma for the poet Emma Lazarus, who wrote on this pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” So this is in my bones as a New Yorker, as someone whose grandparents immigrated to the country in search of a better life.

Progressive reporters mimic billionaires as they tout the infusion of migrants which pushes many ordinary Americans — including blacks — and their kids out of the big coastal cities.

“New York City has long been a magnet for new Americans,” gushed a four-reporter article in the New York Times, adding:

Aqdas Shahnoory, 17, and her family fled the Taliban in Afghanistan. On Ellis Island, she gave a speech in Dari, an Afghan variant of Persian: “We must remember that immigrants are not just numbers or statistics, but people with dreams.”

The cities’ addiction to migrants ensures that city officials constantly push for more immigrants and also fight public demand for the enforcement of popular immigration laws, he says.

But the blue cities’ addiction to migration makes them obsolete and inefficient for Americans’ needs, Lind wrote:

Far from representing the future in the information age, cities like San Francisco and Gotham are technologically obsolete, socially dysfunctional, and economically parasitic. Only a steady morphine drip of low-wage international immigration and subsidies from taxpayers who live elsewhere keep these legacy cities from shrinking to more sustainable dimensions, like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland, and St. Louis after World War II.

Extraction Migration

The federal government has long operated an unpopular economic policy of Extraction Migration. This colonialism-like policy extracts vast amounts of human resources from needy countries, reduces beneficial trade, and uses the imported workers, renters, and consumers to grow Wall Street and the economy.

The migrant inflow has successfully forced down Americans’ wages and also boosted rents and housing prices. The inflow has also pushed many native-born Americans out of careers in a wide variety of business sectors and contributed to the rising death rate of poor Americans.

The lethal policy also sucks jobs and wealth from heartland states by subsidizing coastal investors with a flood of low-wage workers, high-occupancy renters, and government-aided consumers.

The population inflow also reduces the political clout of native-born Americans, because the population replacement allows elites and the establishment to divorce themselves from the needs and interests of ordinary Americans.

In many speeches, border chief Alejandro Mayorkas says he is building a mass migration system to deliver workers to wealthy employers and investors and “equity” to poor foreigners. The nation’s border laws are subordinate to elite opinion about “the values of our country” Mayorkas claims.

Migration — and especially, labor migration — is unpopular among swing voters. A 54 percent majority of Americans say Biden is allowing a southern border invasion, according to an August 2022 poll commissioned by the left-of-center National Public Radio (NPR). The 54 percent “Invasion” majority included 76 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents, and even 40 percent of Democrats.


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