https://www.theepochtimes.com/illegal-immigration-is-root-cause-of-many-issues-facing-new-york-city-says-republican-candidate_4844372.html

Illegal immigration badly affects New York as it subsequently leads to other issues, according to Michael Zumbluskas, the Republican candidate who is running for New York’s 12th Congressional District.

Zumbluskas will be squaring off against two opponents in this November’s midterm elections, including longtime Democratic congressman Rep. Jerry Nadler and Mikhail Itkis, a member of the progressive left’s Working Families Party.

​Border officials arrested a record high of more than 2 million illegal immigrants ​in the past 11 months at the southern border, according to figures released by Customs and Border Protection.​

“One of the biggest problems right now is illegal immigration, because that’s affecting everything,” Zumbluskas said in an interview with The Epoch Times on Nov 3.

“It’s increasing the crime because fentanyl is coming in,” he said.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in its January 2020 report (pdf) laid out clearly that China was the “primary source” of fentanyl trafficked into the United States.

“It is produced in China … [then] shipped to the cartels in Mexico.”

Another issue stemming from illegal immigration is the rise of human trafficking, as cartel leaders turn the aliens into laborers and “make them work for almost nothing,” the Republican district leader in the 76th Assembly District in New York City pointed out.

The increasing number of illegal aliens also contributed to the city’s surging population, triggering housing shortages.

“And that’s one of the reasons the prices are so high … one of the things that a lot of people don’t get is the interconnectivity of all our problems,” Zumbluskas noted.

The administration of former Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a push to rezone 15 neighborhoods in 2014 with the aim of enabling the construction of more developments for low-income earners. De Blasio’s plan was to give middle- and low-income families a chance to remain in their community amid a tide of gentrification.

Yet, in Zumbluskas’s opinion, the city’s gentrification plan did not work as expected.

“I actually don’t believe that you should put low income housing in those luxury buildings” because higher-income residents then sent the rents soaring, he said.

As the leases in the area went up, service providers also increased their prices, he noted.

“Then, what happens is the neighborhood gets unaffordable for the people that used to be living there,” he said.

He took his own situation as an example. “I’m living in an area where everything else has just risen, sometimes 100% more than what I was paying,” he said.

“So you’re pushing out the low income people, which are the backbone of the city.”

Infrastructure ‘Falling Apart’

The Congressional nominee further stressed the need to rebuild the city’s infrastructure, which he said “is falling apart.”

“We need to rebuild some of our manufacturing back in New York City. We need to build energy plants, power plants,” he said.

“New York City, right now, spends well over $300 million a year just for other states to take our garbage,” he said.

The New York City Hall slashed the Department of Sanitation’s budget by $106 million last summer, which reduced trash pickups by 60 percent, CBS News reported.

Zumbluskas made note of Waste Management and General Electric—two companies that are building “waste to energy” plants.

“We can go to them and say, ‘We won’t charge you for our garbage for 15 years. So you’ll be getting the raw materials for free. You can come and build here, and we’ll give you a couple of tax breaks,” he said.

In his opinion, this approach could solve a couple of problems.

“We save money on getting rid of our garbage … It also lowers our energy costs in New York City,” he explained.

The candidate pointed to the report that New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant was closed in 2021 after 59 years of operation.

“It was stupid to throw close the upstate power plant … because people are afraid. Nuclear energy is actually really safe. And it’s actually one of the cleanest energies,” he said.

Nuclear reactors do not produce carbon emissions while operating.

The close partly undermined local energy security, Zumbluskas said.

“During the summer, we—in some areas—have blackouts, and energy demand is just going to continue up.”

Consequence of Ban on Fossil Fuels

As the Biden administration has cut off domestic production of fossil fuels, choosing instead to rely on imports from foreign countries, Zumbluskas noted that diesel fuel is still essential for America.

“Most of farmers’s tractors and farm equipment use diesel fuel, [while] very few use regular gas. Most of the trucks that transport our food and products across the country [to New York City] use diesel fuel,” he said.

“A lot of our fertilizer is produced [from] fossil fuels, the nitrates in the fertilizer,” he noted.

As a result, the ban of fossil fuels, in his opinion, will lead to a drop in U.S. crop yields.

The U.S. imports approximately 96 percent of the nation’s potassium fertilizer from Russia, including one million short tons per year, according to Michigan Potash & Salt Company.

“Since we embargo the stuff from Russia, we’re not getting the fertilizer,” he said.

“The cost is going up tremendously because fuel costs for the farmers to run their lights, to run their farm equipment to harvest has doubled. That hurts everything,” Zumbluskas said.

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Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master’s degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin.

Lily Yu

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