Steve Bovo: A Mayor’s stand — the real impact of direct-flight parole on our city

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The time for half-measures and political rhetoric has passed.

The Joe Biden administration’s direct-flight parole-and-release program was created to mitigate the challenges of illegal border crossings by facilitating an alternative entry of ineligible individuals directly into the U.S. However, this initiative has effectively led to an open border policy, unleashing numerous challenges and hardships on communities throughout Florida.

In effect, the administration’s short-sighted policies have led to the creation of border cities throughout the country, leading to rising crime, increased homelessness, and a greater strain on public safety personnel and public services.

recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies highlights that since October 2022, Florida saw the arrival of nearly 326,000 migrants under this program. This influx, once a challenge isolated in border towns, has now crept into communities hundreds of miles from where the migrants crossed into the U.S. The Biden administration’s inadequate planning and execution has placed a significant strain on our local communities, which are now forced to provide extensive care, support, and integration services to tens of thousands of migrant adults and children. Even cities like Hialeah that have historically been hospitable to immigrants are facing extreme budgetary challenges.

The administration’s failure to act decisively and its continued lack of transparency regarding the scope and impact of this program has left cities to fend for themselves.

The argument that this program is an effective measure to manage immigration falls flat in the face of the real-life consequences experienced by communities struggling to cope with the additional migrants. Local governments are invariably the first responders to the impacts of such federal policies, yet we find ourselves last in line when it comes to being consulted or informed about decisions that have direct implications for our communities.

The challenges we are addressing in Hialeah are indicative of a broader failure to address immigration in a manner that respects the capacities and resources of local governments. Over the past year, the city has seen a rise in recreational vehicles permanently parked in residential areas. It has become commonplace to see up to three or four RVs parked in the driveways and backyards of single-family residences as migrant families seek housing.

Local communities can no longer bear the burden of the Biden administration’s policies. While discussing comprehensive immigration reform is necessary, it is a luxury we cannot afford in the face of the current crisis. Immediate action is required to secure our borders, or drastic measures such as shutting down the federal government to force a reevaluation of our immigration policies are considered. There is no issue more pressing than the current border crisis.

The time for half-measures and political rhetoric has passed. We demand actionable solutions. The U.S. needs a reimagined approach to immigration policy – one that places a premium on securing our borders as an immediate priority and demonstrates a clear commitment to the well-being and security of American communities. In Hialeah, we are already working to mitigate this unfunded burden brought to us by the Biden administration. And, as mayor, I will ensure our community does not face the same fate as cities like San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York.


Steve Bovo is Mayor of Hialeah and Chair of the Florida Republican Mayors Association.

Guest Author


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