The Democratic governor’s comments come as the Biden administration considers Atlantic City airport for housing.
Gov. Phil Murphy suggested Thursday that New Jersey does not have the resources to take an influx of migrants from New York City at the direction of the Biden administration.
The comments by the Democratic governor — who once said New Jersey would become a “sanctuary” state for immigrants on his watch — comes as the Biden administration reportedly is considering relocating migrants in New York City to the Atlantic City International Airport. The airport is one of 11 federal sites that the Biden administration has sent to the New York City Mayor’s Office that are under consideration.
“I don’t see any scenario where we’re going to be able to take in a program in Atlantic City or frankly elsewhere in the state,” Murphy said on News 12 New Jersey’s “Ask Governor Murphy.”
“You need scale, enormous amount of federal support, resources that go beyond anything that we can afford,” he said. “Putting everything else aside, I just don’t see it. I would suspect that that will continue to be the case.”
Murphy added that his office has not heard about the matter from federal officials or the White House, but that the state has “already seen folks” who are “probably coming from New York or other locations.”
The placement of migrants has become a frontline political issue in the region in recent months and caused friction between Democrats. In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have clashed over where to house migrants.
But the possibility of sending migrants to Atlantic County — one of the poorest counties in New Jersey — has drawn bipartisan backlash from local officials. Both Democratic and Republican candidates in the competitive 2nd legislative district race — a district that includes Atlantic City and the nearby airport in Egg Harbor Township — strongly opposed sending migrants to the area from New York City.
Local officials have also vowed to prevent migrants being sent to the area from the Biden administration.
“All I can say is that I will do my best to prevent this from happening,” longtime Republican Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said in an interview. “We can’t afford it. We’re a poor county. We’re one of the poorest counties in New Jersey. It’s not a burden I can put on our taxpayers.”
Murphy said that the country should “responsibly and humanely secure our borders,” provide a pathway to status for millions of undocumented people in America and overhaul the country’s legal immigration visa process, especially in a way that can help mitigate worker shortages.
“We’ve always been a nation of immigrants, but that doesn’t mean it can be the Wild West,” Murphy said.