President Biden is under growing pressure to curb record numbers of migrants crossing into the United States — not just from the usual Republican critics, but also from Democratic mayors and governors in cities thousands of miles from the border.
What used to be a clear-cut, ideological fight between Democrats and Republicans has become a bipartisan demand for action, and some of the most intense pressure on Mr. Biden is coming from places like Boston, Denver, Chicago and New York, where leaders in the president’s own party are issuing cries for help.
Publicly, the Democratic politicians have described mounting crises in their cities. Privately, they are in almost daily contact with Tom Perez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and other administration officials. For the most part they are not calling for the kind of severe border restrictions that Republicans are demanding, but they want help with overflowing migrant encampments, packed shelters and busted budgets.
The intraparty pressure has turned the politics of immigration upside down at the beginning of a campaign year. And it has increased the likelihood that Mr. Biden and Democratic lawmakers will approve immigration concessions to Republicans that would have seemed improbable just a few years ago.
In Denver, more than 36,000 migrants have arrived in recent months, with 4,100 still in city shelters, and more are arriving daily. In Boston, migrants have camped out at the airport. In New York, more than 164,500 migrants have poured into shelters since April 2022, with many still living in one of the 215 hotels, converted office buildings or tent camps set up to accommodate them.
“It’s both a humanitarian and fiscal crisis,” said Mike Johnston, the Democratic mayor of Denver. “We aren’t going to sit by and watch moms and 6-month-olds in tents on the streets in 10-degree weather. But by refusing to do that we are on the path to spend $180 million next year and could not do that either.”