Bill Clinton slams NYC immigration system: 'It's broken and we need to fix it'

"We're supposed to shelter people who can't get work permits for six months," Clinton said.

Published: October 2, 2023 11:36am

Former President Bill Clinton slammed the immigration system under New York City's "Right to Shelter" law as being "broken" and in need of repair as migrants from the southern border overwhelm the city.

During an interview Sunday on 77 WABC radio’s "The Cats Roundtable" show with host John Catsimatidis, Clinton said he thinks the right to shelter law "probably should" be modified "under the circumstances" after about 100,000 migrants flooded New York City over the past year. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul and NYC Mayor Eric Adams have called on the city to suspend its "Right to Shelter" law, which was established in the early 1980s following a lawsuit that essentially established that the city had a duty to shelter homeless men. The law was later expanded to include homeless women, families and people with AIDS.

"We're supposed to shelter people who can't get work permits for six months," Clinton also said. "They need to be working, paying taxes and paying their way. And most of these people have no interest in being on welfare for themselves and their families. They want to work and they're not allowed to under the system, as it now works. It's broken. And we need to fix it, we need to rush through these things." 

In an attempt to allow more illegal immigrants to work, the Homeland Security Department last month granted nearly half a million Venezuelan immigrants temporary protected status.

Clinton hailed the Canadian immigration system as a model for the United States.

"We need to be very practical here," Clinton said. "We need to do more like what the Canadians do where they take a large number of immigrants, but they go where they're needed and where they're wanted."

Canada welcomed more than 430,000 immigrants in 2022, according to the Canadian government. More than 900,000 immigrants became U.S. citizens during the 2022 fiscal year, which ran from October 2021 through September 2022, according to Pew Research Center, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered more than 2.7 million illegal migrants during this time period. 

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