The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

CUNY Student’s Reaction to the Migrant Crisis

Disclaimer: The John Jay Sentinel is not a proponent or opponent of any opinion regarding this matter. All opinions expressed by interviewees are entirely their own.

As New York, a sanctuary city, is wrapped up in a debate on how to handle the migrant crisis, CUNY students shared their opinions on the matter.

John Jay Alumni Mayor Eric Adams has turned unused spaces such as Roosevelt Island and former Creedmoor facilities in Queens into migrant shelters. Many New Yorkers are resisting the Mayor’s actions, with anti-migrant protests erupting around the city. Over a third of CUNY students identify as immigrants, and CUNY students offered an array of different opinions on the issue. 

Fairoz Avin, a senior at John Jay, expresses concerns that migrants aren’t receiving proper care and opportunities to sustain themselves, especially after reports of migrants expressing that they are not given enough food have surfaced.  

“Instead of protesting outside of migrant shelters, we as New Yorkers should be worried that migrants aren’t fed and taken care of properly,” said Avin. “They deserve the same rights as us all.”

Amatul Hahi, a senior at John Jay, expresses that New Yorkers must ensure that these migrants are given equal access to opportunities and a chance to sustain themselves.

“Migrants should be given the equal provision of affordable housing, healthcare, and social services,” said Hahi. “Also, effective policies and programs should empower migrants to become self-sufficient, active members of their new communities.”

Jeff Mathew, a junior at John Jay, shared that the influx of migrants into the city may be ill-timed due to a struggling economy.

 “Migrants have faced poverty, joined gangs, and endured mistreatment in their other countries,” said Mathew. “However, in recent months, NYC has seen an increase in problems, such as poor economic circumstances.”.

Others like Queens College freshman Nayana Chetram hold a view opposing both the allocation of taxpayer resources to migrant facilities and concerns about the lack of security at the southern border. 

“While we understand the desire for individuals to seek better opportunities and a safer life, it’s essential to uphold the rule of law,” said Chetram.  “While we sympathize with those facing difficult circumstances, it’s crucial to balance compassion with the responsibility to protect our citizens.”

Although Mayor Adams has aimed to continue providing for undocumented migrants, he has also warned New Yorkers the funds needed to avert the migrant crisis will have negative impacts on the city. Mayor Adams has announced budget cuts as high as 15% for all New York City agencies amidst the large costs of the migrant crisis. 

Other students are concerned about the impact the influx of migrants can have on the housing market, with rent prices in the city reaching record highs

Robert Zapata, a Queens college freshman, is worried that such an influx will only drive housing prices higher than they already are.

“Migrants can take up living spaces and opportunities that legal immigrants and Americans could have and already struggle to have,” said Zapata.

Fabiola Cohate, a junior at John Jay, also expressed concerns for the fate of legal immigrants. She shared concern that when seeking green cards and work authorizations they may not be treated fairly, because migrants may be processed faster than traditional applicants. 

“While we should protect the human rights of the new arrivals, we should also ensure the same protections for those who have been here for years, even decades in some cases,” said Cohate.

Israel Tavera, a senior at John Jay, agrees with Cohate’s sentiments. He believes there is a difference between undocumented migrants who have been struggling in America for decades and the recent influx of undocumented migrants who are given housing, food, and expedited work permits.

“It would be a big slap in the face to the DACA recipients and those who have been here illegally for years and are contributing to the country that those who just arrived could get papers faster than them because they came now,” said Tavera.

Students such as Fabiola Cohate also emphasize the need for equal treatment of both these migrants and other immigrant groups, and making sure migrants are treated fairly and humanely. 

“With recent attempts to put sawblades to purposely injure those looking for peace and opportunity, it is upsetting and needs to be changed soon,” said Cohate. 

She is referring to the Texas government deploying buoyant barriers with blades to deter migrants from crossing the Rio River. 

Cohate added that despite the varying opinions all parties involved in this issue should be treated with care.

“Both the city and migrants should be treated with fairness and equality,” said Cohate.

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About the Contributor
Parsva Shah
Parsva Shah, Web Editor
Parsva Shah is currently a senior at John Jay College. He majors in philosophy and law & society. He’s worked previously as a staff writer within The Sentinel.  Parsva’s passion for writing is intertwined with his deep-rooted love for reading. He enjoys reading court cases, philosophy works, and political commentary. As a staff writer, Parsva enjoyed exploring different viewpoints and representing opinions on important issues that impact the John Jay community.  In the future, Parsva plans to go on to law school and serve the New York community as an attorney. Within John Jay, he is also a part of the BMI Rising Scholars of Justice Program as well as part of the Office of Student Research and Creativity. Parsva’s favorite story he has written is “CUNY Student’s Reaction to the Migrant Crisis.” Although a hot-button issue, understanding different points of view to create a cohesive article was a process that allowed Parsva to grow as a writer and a journalist.  A quote that inspires Parsva is “Journalism is history’s first draft." He’s driven by his passion for helping people express their opinions and hopes that as a Web Editor, he could mentor staff writers and help them publish meaningful articles.

Comments (3)

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    Israel TaveraOct 3, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    Good work Parsva!

  • F

    Faraz S.Sep 29, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    Very well written.

  • F

    Faraz S.Sep 29, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    Very well written and informative.