The war in Ukraine has led to an increase in immigrants from Russia arriving in New York City, which is already dealing with a strain on its financial resources due to migrants and asylum seekers from the southern U.S. border.
Outside of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Mauritania, Russians make up the largest portion of migrants seeking sanctuary in New York, which has the largest Russian-speaking immigrant population in the country.
Republican Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, who represents the Russian-speaking neighborhoods of Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and Midwood in southern Brooklyn, told the New York Post on Sunday that she’s not surprised by the increase in Russians fleeing to the U.S.
“There is a horrific war going on in the region and our asylum laws were specifically designed for these situations,” Vernikov said. “Unfortunately, under President Joe Biden’s open border, we’ve had people taking advantage of our ‘generosity’ and claiming asylum where there are no legitimate claims.”
Mayor Eric Adams’ Office of Immigrant Affairs obtained immigration court statistics from the Department of Justice via Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, according to the Post.
“Since the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of Russians and Ukrainians seeking asylum during this global humanitarian crisis in New York City,” said Kayla Mamelak, a spokeswoman for Adams, as reported by the Post.
“We have welcomed these individuals and families, just as we have for the over 110,000 asylum seekers who have sought shelter in our city since the spring of 2022.”
For the 2022 federal fiscal year, there were 3,098 cases involving Russian nationals in New York immigration courts, according to the Post. As of Sunday, the number of asylum cases involving Russian nationals has risen to 8,002 for the current fiscal year, a 158% increase.
The Post had previously reported that six Russian families were staying at The Paul Hotel on West 29th Street, which had been converted into a shelter for migrants.
“We came here to avoid being mobilized for war,” said Leila Usmanov, who fled Russia with her husband Ruslan Usmanov and their three children, ages 16, 10, and 3. “We didn’t want to fight against our own people. Ukrainians and Russians are the same.”
Michael Katz ✉
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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