Though Florida and Texas have no personal-income tax, they still have to generate state revenue – so they hike up other types of tax, Alan Goldenberg, a tax principal at Anchin specializing in state and local tax, told Insider.
And even if you move to a low-tax state, you’ll still have to pay federal taxes, he added.
Over the past decade, Florida’s population grew by 14.6% and Texas’ by 15.9%, according to US Census data. Both are around double the 7.4% rate of overall US population growth.
Meanwhile, California’s population grew by 6.1% and New York’s by just 4.2%.
And many of the super-wealthy are making the move to these low-tax states. Tax isn’t the sole reason why – but it is a “big part of the conversation,” Goldenberg said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to bump up personal-income tax for the wealthy to cover the state’s $15 billion deficit after its revenue fell during the pandemic. Combined with local taxes, New York City’s top earners would have to pay 14.7% income tax – which would be the highest rate in the US above California’s 13.3%.
People can make “significant tax savings” by relocating, Goldenberg said.
As well as considering these taxes, people have to watch out for whether they could still be charged in the state they moved from – known as their historic state.
“Just because you move out of the state doesn’t mean you may be totally done being taxed by that state,” Goldenberg said.
“There may still be some tax exposure,” he said, pointing out that people who own businesses in their historic state will still have to pay tax there.
Migration is leading to “significant revenue losses” for high-tax states, Goldenberg said. These states are increasingly chasing up people to check whether they have fully moved away, and are getting more aggressive in their approach, he said.
Because of this, people need to have a clear action plan and decide whether they want to keep, sell, or rent out the house in their historic state, Goldenberg said.
Tax-induced migration was a key part of the narrative of 2020, but the story actually began long before that.
Lower-tax states are continuing to get richer thanks to a steady influx of new residents from higher-tax states, per a recent Bank of America Research note, which looked at recently released IRS data for tax returns from 2019, reflecting 2018 earnings.
The data showed that net gains in adjusted gross income (AGI) for lower-tax states were higher than those in higher-tax states: the latter saw $111 billion in AGI in 2018, while the former saw nearly $145 billion. The net AGI gain of lower-tax states also increased from 2017 to 2018 by $2 billion, to $34 billion, the team led by Ian Rogow wrote.
The rise of remote work prompted an outpouring of Americans, especially the wealthy, from big cities to more affordable areas in pursuit of sunnier locales and lower taxes. Tech elites from Silicon Valley have flocked to Texas, mirroring Big Apple financiers on the East Coast fleeing to Florida. But the IRS data makes it clear that the pandemic accelerated a pre-existing migration pattern.
It also confirms the anecdotal evidence that Florida in particular is attracting many wealthier residents compared to pre-pandemic times, and is seeing its wealth increase at the expense of other states. The average AGI per return of people migrating from Florida to New York in 2018 was $72,492. For those migrating from New York to Florida, it was $135,813. Florida gained a total of $7.3 billion of AGI from the top ten highest-taxed states.
People have “discounted” tax burdens as a move-inciting factor for some time, the BofA note reads, and while tax migration “remains an unsettled area,” leaders from high-tax states are becoming increasingly concerned that remote work and the SALT cap – the federal cap on the state and local tax, which was slashed to $10,000 during Trump’s 2017 tax cut – are making residents question living there.
A separate BofA Research report from May argued that reopening will spark a return to both NYC and San Francisco. “Both have the potential for some recovery in the near term,” the note reads. “NYC and SF remain premier cities for young renters given their status as economic, financial, and cultural centers, and the pullback in rents over the past year helps affordability.”
It seems that, for some Americans, big cities will always have an allure. But, as evidenced by the pre-pandemic migration trend, others are increasingly ditching them for a more affordable way of life and better savings.
Only time will tell whether high-tax states become truly overrated.
2020 was the year urbanites took flight. But many of them didn’t go very far.
The pandemic’s great migration boom mostly consisted of urban dwellers leaving big cities for its directly outlying suburbs, according to a recent Jefferies note that analyzed the latest USPS data. “Large central metro” areas like New York City and Houston saw the biggest exodus, while “large fringe metro” areas saw the biggest influx of residents.
The trend is evidence that city dwellers sought more space during the pandemic but still wanted to remain close to cities – where employers and entertainment are – when the economy began to reopen, Jefferies states. Consider the San Franciscans who headed out to Sacramento or Oakland, or the New Yorkers who moved east to Long Island.
They’re all areas still within short traveling time to major cities, which Bloomberg has described as a reflection of an expanding regional labor market. Through spending as visitors rather than residents, it’s likely that these urban movers will help boost big cities, which stand to see an estimated 10% drop in spending due to a remote economy.
While fewer big-city residents have moved this year amid an economic reopening and rising vaccination rates, migration into the suburbs of large cities has still remained strong during the first few months of the year. It stands to reason, then, that big cities could also get a spending hit from suburbanites new to the area in addition to its former residents.
To be sure, big-city suburbs aren’t a hot spot for everyone.
Some urbanites kissed their metro areas goodbye for good, preferring a life in the countryside or a more removed suburb. And others left for a new state entirely. About 9,000 Manhattanites who moved to Florida plan to stay there permanently, per USPS data. But it’s also likely that, considering the continued strength of migration to big city suburbs while migration from big cities stabilizes, state movers are also choosing suburbs in large metro areas.
There are also the migrants who moved only temporarily, intending to return to big city life. As a Bank of America Research report from May puts it, the urban flight is “more myth than reality.” It argued that economic reopening will spark a return to big cities like New York City and San Francisco.
“Both have the potential for some recovery in the near term,” the note reads. “NYC and SF remain premier cities for young renters given their status as economic, financial, and cultural centers, and the pullback in rents over the past year helps affordability.”
In NYC, some of those who left for the suburbs are already returning. And the 10,000 other Manhattanites who moved to Florida, according to USPS data, plan to move back.
Whether urbanites moved temporarily or to the suburbs, one thing is clear: The migration of 2020 is more of an urban reshuffle than anything.
“Let’s just talk about the empty nesters from New York, or the empty nesters from New Jersey,” Patronis said. “They then decide to leave the tax hell that those states are in and move to the state of Florida.”
He said that these people bring money into the state without increasing pressure on the school system.
“It provides more money to our schools, though they’re not using the services,” Patronis said.
“It’s a win-win,” he added.
Both people and businesses flocked to Florida during the pandemic
Florida’s population grew by 2.7 million, or 14.6%, between 2010 and 2020, according to US Census data. This is double the rate of overall US population growth.
As Patronis said, Florida is traditionally associated with retirees, but Troy McLellan, CEO of the Boca Raton Chamber, previously told Insider in May that more and more families and young high-flyers are moving to the area.
Americans stopped moving around the 1980s, but that changed last year with remote work.
A new Apartment List report that surveyed 5,000 Americans and analyzed US Census data has confirmed the migration narrative of 2020: Remote work ignited a residential migration rebound as the number of movers increased by 14% to 16% from 2019 to 2020 – it was the first US migration increase in over a decade.
This has big implications for millennial homebuying in particular and wealth inequality in general. The ApartmentList data shows the migrants were largely high-income, meaning that migration was K-shaped, just like the uneven economy born by the coronavirus pandemic. With migration has come a boom in homebuying, and millennials have taken the lead in homebuying, with high-net-worth millennials at the top of the K.
Although the study doesn’t break down generational data, millennials likely comprise many of the high-income households, defined as those earning over $150,000. A previous Apartment List report revealed that the millennial homeownership rate climbed to 47.9% from 40% just three years ago. Many of these millennial homebuyers were likely the same as the 16% of high-income workers that moved over the past year, a 39% jump from the Census Bureau’s estimate of American migrants in 2019.
This marks a sharp contrast from the past decade, in which lower-income workers led migration patterns. Low-income households moved during the migration boom as well, per the report, but the high-income group is more likely to work in flexible jobs. They’ve taken advantage of remote work to move across the country in search of more space and more affordable housing.
Apartment List also found that high-income workers were twice as likely to purchase a home as low-income workers, which dovetails with millennials reaching peak homebuying age during the pandemic and leading the housing recovery. Historically low interest rates made more types of homes viable for the generation, at least for those who had enough money saved to win out bidding wars in a cutthroat market.
Other millennials were priced out as housing prices reached record highs, while others still couldn’t even fathom becoming homeowners. Many moved back home with their parents during the pandemic, either temporarily or permanently. According to a Pew Research Center report, 52% of young adults lived with at least one of their parents as of July 2020, topping the last high of 48% many decades ago, in 1940.
The millennial wealth gap
This migration divide exemplifies the intragenerational millennial wealth gap, which has widened during the pandemic. Such millennial inequality dates back to the Great Recession, with wealthier millennials faring well while their low-earning peers are struggling.
The affordability crisis millennials were already facing prepandemic has left some with little wealth to fall back on as they experience unemployment and other hardships during the coronavirus recession, causing some to move back in with their parents. But a smaller, higher-earning group with stable income has been able to save, invest, and even buy homes with extra money they would otherwise spend in non-pandemic times.
Millennials are experiencing their own K-shaped recovery, uniquely compounded by two recessions. Generational researcher Jason Dorsey, the president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, previously told Insider this could lead to an unequal recovery between these two groups, with those those who lost a job recovering longer than those who began the pandemic with a better financial backstop.
This uneven rebound might have an effect on migration as well. As the report concludes, continuing migration patterns could further redistribute wealth away from the country’s biggest and priciest cities.
And Palm Beach County, located just north of Miami, has stood out. Elliott Management is planning on moving its headquarters there, Citadel Securities based its trading-floor’s COVID-19 bubble at a hotel there, and hundreds of families have relocated to the county.
Insider spoke to parties involved in the local economy, including the mayors of Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach town, to understand what’s driving people to move to the area.
‘We punch above our weight in terms of business strength’
Palm Beach County has been working to drive a migration of businesses for around 10 years, Kelly Smallridge, CEO of the county’s Business Development Board (BDB), told Insider.
The county realized that executives were buying second houses or coming for vacations in Florida, but owned a large business in another state. So the BDB approached them about bringing their business to Florida, Smallridge said.
“That initiative has turned out to be the most lucrative economic development initiative in the last 40 years,” Smallridge said.
The BDB isn’t the only group actively recruiting businesses to move to the county. West Palm Beach mayor Keith James told Insider that the city had been reaching out to financial-services companies for years – not just in New York but in other Northeast states including Vermont and Connecticut, alongside some companies as far afield as California.
“We’ve seen tremendous interest in companies relocating to Boca Raton,” Scott Singer, the mayor of Boca Raton, told Insider.
He said the city had been fielding “plenty” of inbound calls, but that it had also launched targeted advertising in the New York, Chicago, and San Francisco markets, including promoting its technology business hub.
The three mayors told Insider they had especially noticed increasing levels of interest from venture capital, private equity, hedge fund, and financial-services companies, feeding into a state-wide trend.
Hedge fund Elliott Management is in final-stage talks to move its headquarters from Manhattan to West Palm Beach, while Maryland-based mortgage company New Day USA is leasing 50,000 square feet of office space as a second headquarters in the city.
Almost 2,500 financial-service firms have offices in the county, employing 37,000 people in total, according to the BDB.
But other industries are growing, too. West Palm Beach is targeting the marine and medical industries for future growth, while Singer said that Bacon Raton has been a tech hub for decades, noting that IBM developed the first personal computer there in 1981.
Singer said Boca Raton had the number of corporate headquarters you’d expect from a city of four or five times its size. These include the headquarters of The Office Depot, ADT, and Bluegreen Vacations.
“We punch above our weight in terms of business strength,” Singer said.
He said Boca Raton has a “rich entrepreneurial environment” and “an ecosystem that supports business and entrepreneurs,” in part thanks to actions of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He also points to the collaboration between groups such as the Palm Beach’s BDB, the regional Chamber, and Enterprise Florida.
Boca Raton alone has three college campus that create a pipeline of intellectual capital for businesses relocating to the area, McLellan said.
There are a lot of transport developments either in place or in the pipeline for Palm Beach County, too.
The county has an international airport, which more than six million passengers pass through each year. Even the most northern part of the county, Jupiter, is located just 90 minutes’ drive from Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports for a wider range of long-haul flights.
Boca Raton also has its own general aviation airport, while West Palm Beach is planning to launch a study into the feasibility of direct flights from the city to the Caribbean to benefit its marine sector.
And traveling from West Palm Beach to the rest of Florida is getting easier after it was connected to Miami through Brightline, a rail system with investments from Richard Branson’s Virgin, John Boyd of the Boyd Company said. The route will be expanded to include Orlando and its airport as well as Tampa, too.
This transport network is luring both businesses and people to the county.
Singer said there had been “tremendous interest” from executives with businesses overseas, who wanted to open offices or even locate to Boca Raton because of its transport links. Meanwhile, West Palm Beach says it has “one of Florida’s most walkable central business districts,” reducing the need to commute.
People were already migrating – but the pandemic sped this up
Not only have businesses been moving to the county but people have flocked there, too.
Palm Beach County’s population grew by around 14.2% over the past decade, according to estimates from the US Census Bureau. This is almost double the rate of overall US population growth. Its population sits at around 1.5 million, making it Florida’s third-largest county by population and second-largest by size.
This growth isn’t just because of the natural population increases that you would expect over time. There has also been soaring rates of both domestic and international migration. The county’s net migration was around 11,500 in 2020, according to US Census Bureau estimates – compared to a net migration loss of 23,625 for New York County, which has a similar population.
Many of these migrants are coming from the Northeast. Around two in five people moving to Palm Beach County come from the New York City area, per a report by Unacast. But some also come from cities like Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, or even from countries like India and Brazil, Boyd said.
Forbes identifies Palm Beach County as Florida’s billionaire hub. The 2,600-square-mile county has around 44 billionaires, Smallridge said. This is roughly as many as there are in the entirety of Los Angeles, according to Wealth-X’s 2020 Billionaire Census, and includes Interactive Brokers founder Thomas Peterffy, hedge-fund manager David Tepper, and food-and-drink entrepreneur Jude Reyes, per Forbes.
It’s also the home of Mar-a-Lago, the US’s second-largest mansion, owned by former President Donald Trump.
The county also has around 71,000 millionaire households, Smallridge said. Oracle Founder Larry Ellison recently bought an $80 million house in the county, though he plans to stay living in Hawaii full-time, and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger sold his house in Greenwich, Connecticut to move to Palm Beach.
Danielle Moore, the mayor of the town of Palm Beach, said it had a reputation as “the hometown of ‘captains of industry,'” which she said motivated even more people to move there.
People had already been migrating to the county before the pandemic but COVID-19 forced people to address their work-life balance, alongside the deterioration of office culture, the mayors said.
Alongside companies opening up offices in the city, the rise in remote working during the pandemic has led to digital nomads flocking to the county.
Moore said the town of Palm Beach was experiencing the lowest inventory of available homes “in decades,” and house prices across the county have gone up around 10% over the past year as more and more people relocate.
“When they were closed down, we had plenty of recreation space and great weather year-round, and people are understanding more and more that this is where they want to be,” he added.
Alongside retirees, Florida is also associated with seasonal residents who move to the state for the colder winter months, and Moore said that the town of Palm Beach’s population more than doubles during the peak season.
But when people relocated to Florida, many started enrolling their children at nearby schools, and soon found themselves settled down in the state, Smallridge said.
Palm Beach County’s median age is 43.6, “and that number is probably going to stay steady even as we all age because younger people are being born and coming here every day,” Singer said.
“Most executives will go take a swim in the beach before they even go to work,” Smallridge said. “They never have to shovel snow and they don’t have to ride with the subway.”
But even as more people migrate to the county, some to work remotely while others to work for the companies opening new offices in the area, this trend is ultimately creating more employment opportunities for local residents, James said. He added that West Palm Beach has offered financial incentives to companies moving to the city based on the number of jobs they create, including expedited permit reviews and tax exemptions.
McLellan, meanwhile, said Boca Raton was trying to create a pipeline of future talent for businesses in the area, and that the Chamber was working to discourage residents from migrating away from the city.
Ultimately Palm Beach County is positioning itself as not just a major financial-services hub, but also a destination for families, young graduates, and high-flying execs to move to.
This is perhaps best summed up by West Palm Beach’s tagline: “business, life, balanced.”
The Census data includes estimates of net international migration, or the number of people immigrating into the county from outside the US minus people moving out of the US to a different country.
Red counties in the above map mean more people moved out than in, and blue counties mean more people moved in than out. We adjusted each county’s net international migration from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, by its 2019 population.
When adjusting for population size, some of the counties with the largest negative net international migration were located in California, Idaho, and Kansas.
We decided to also look at net international migration among just large counties. The following table shows the 10 counties that saw the largest increases from net international migration per 1,000 residents among counties with at least 10,000 residents in 2019:
Miami-Dade County, Florida, had the largest postive net international migration estimate among all counties. This county saw 28,593 more residents from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.
Some counties saw more people moving out to other countries than moving in from abroad. The following table shows the 10 counties that saw the largest decreases from net international migration per 1,000 residents among counties with at least 10,000 residents in 2019:
Based on the above table, six of the 10 counties with the largest decreases from net international migration among counties with at least 10,000 residents and adjusted by the county’s 2019 population were in California.
The county-level population estimates part of the data release on May 4 are not the same as the official numbers from the 2020 decennial census. “The estimates are based on the 2010 Census and were created without incorporation or consideration of the 2020 Census results,” the Census Bureau wrote about the population estimates.
Americans were moving during the pandemic, even if at least temporarily, and new data from the Census Bureau shows just how many counties saw more Americans moving in than those moving out to somewhere else in the US.
One Zillow survey released last month found 11% of Americans moved during the pandemic. The results showed the “highest net inbound moves in the first 11 months of 2020″ were in Phoenix; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Austin, Texas.
The latest data release from the Census Bureau on May 4 can give some sense of just where people were moving within the US throughout the pandemic. Census Bureau’s Tuesday release of 2020 population estimates include net domestic migration, or the number of people moving into a county from elsewhere in the US minus people moving out to another part of the country.
Red counties in the above map mean more people moved out than in, and blue counties mean more people moved in than out. We adjusted each county’s net domestic migration from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, by its 2019 population.
Based on the map, more counties in the West saw people moving in than out, while more counties in the Midwest saw more people moving out than in.
Insider previously reported that people were moving to states like Texas and Florida amid the pandemic in part due to these states lower costs of living. Based on the map, almost all of Florida’s counties saw more people moving in than out. Only eight of Florida’s 67 counties saw a negative net domestic migration.
Although counties out West mainly had postive net migration, the majority of counties in California had negative net domestic migration between 2019 and 2020. San Francisco County, Napa County, and Santa Cruz County, are three counties in The Golden State that had more people moving out than in.
Fifty-five of the 62 counties that make up New York had a negative net domestic migration from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. Among the counties in the state that did see a positive net domestic migration, Saratoga County had the largest increase at 830 new residents or 3.61 people per 1,000 residents when adjusting for the county’s 2019 population.
Some counties saw really large increases from net domestic migration compared to others. The following table shows the 10 counties that saw the largest increases from net domestic migration per 1,000 residents among counties with at least 10,000 residents in 2019:
Almost all of the top 10 are located in Southern states. The top two counties with the largest net domestic migration, adjusted by the county’s 2019 population and among counties with 10,000 residents, are both located in Florida. Four of the 10 counties are located in Texas.
While some counties experienced big increases of more people moving in than out, others saw large decreases. The following table shows the 10 counties that saw the largest decreases from net domestic migration per 1,000 residents among counties 10,000 residents in 2019:
The table shows that some other counties in Southern states had large decreases from net domestic migration when adjusting for population size and among counties with at least 10,000 residents. Some of the other counties that saw a lot of people moving out are in the Midwest.
It is important to note that the Vintage population figures released earlier this week are not the same as the figures from the 2020 decennial census. “The estimates are based on the 2010 Census and were created without incorporation or consideration of the 2020 Census results,” the Census Bureau wrote about the population estimates.
Software company Civix and Sonesta International Hotels are opening new offices in Orlando, too.
Deloitte has invested $63 million in Orlando since 2014, while KMPG chose Orlando for its $450 million global training center, which Barnes said is the largest capital investment in KMPG history, according to Casey Barnes, vice president of business development at the Orlando Economic Partnership.
Colliers previously told Insider that interest from out-of-state firms in South Florida real estate is “torrential” – and they’re looking for much bigger officers than before, too.
Average salaries are climbing
As these businesses open offices in Florida, the job-market in the state is booming, too.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, told Insider Florida’s job vacancies are back at pre-pandemic levels and the number of unemployed is reaching record lows while average city salaries are climbing.
The number of financial-services employees in Florida has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels with nearly 600,000 people working in the sector. New York, on the other hand, is rebounding much slower, and still has around 30,000 fewer employees in the sector than it did in early 2020, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Casey Barnes, vice president of business development at the Orlando Economic Partnership, told Insider that Deloitte has created more than 2,200 new jobs in the city since 2014, while KMPG chose Orlando for its $450 million global training center, which Barnes said is the largest capital investment in KMPG history.
Adzuna said that tech company Oracle is the top company hiring in Florida on its site. Boyd said that financial services and tech workers are leaving cities like Boston, Chicago, and New York to move to Florida, but some are coming from overseas in India and Brazil, too.
The rise of remote working has also made it easier for workers to relocate independently of their employers.
Boyd said that the pandemic has created “a time of historic mobility for both companies and people.” Companies are increasingly letting staff work from home on a permanent basis, which allows them to save on real estate costs, he said.
“Orlando was an ideal place to live, work, and play priorto COVID-19, and the region’s offerings will only be more valuable to professionals in the pandemic’s wake,” Barnes told Insider.
This was something Alexandra Scherbich, global head of B2B marketing at Tenth Revolution Group, found when she relocated to Tampa from London in April 2019. She told Insider that managing her colleagues in the UK could be challenging from abroad because of the time zone differences, but that she is able to now dedicate her afternoons to meetings with clients on the West Coast, which would have been much harder in the UK because of the eight-hour time difference.
Florida has a pro-business environment
Florida famously doesn’t have a personal income tax, and this is one of the major motivators for migration, Boyd told Insider. He added that many people moving to the state come from high-tax states that don’t have such a pro-business environment, like Connecticut and New Jersey, as well as New York, which recently announced plans to bump up its income-tax rates for its wealthiest residents.
“And the other part of all this is, you know, economic development really comes down to leadership at the end of the day,” Boyd said.
“Governor DeSantis is a good salesman-in-chief of the state of Florida,” he said. He added that Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez was positioning the city as a major tech market.
Florida has sun, sea, and no lockdown
Florida has also remained largely open during the pandemic compared to other states. This led to people choosing to make Florida their primary residence for the pandemic, Kelly Smallridge, CEO of the Business Development Board (BDB) of Palm Beach County, told Insider.
When people relocated to Florida, they started enrolling their children at nearby schools, and soon found themselves settled down in the state, Smallridge said.
Barnes said that many companies are choosing to expand in or relocate to Florida because “they see it as a destination that will attract workers and their families.”
“Most executives will go take a swim in the beach before they even go to work,” BDB’s Smallridge said. “And, you know, they never have to shovel snow and they don’t have to ride with the subway.”
Scherbich said that, alongside work opportunities, the climate was part of her reason for migrating. She added that she’s settled into the city well and that it has a large UK expatriate community.
Housing and living costs are lower than New York
House prices have gone up around 10% over the past year as more people move to the state, but Florida still has a “very attractive” real-estate market compared to some other major markets in the US, Boyd said, adding that there are affordable housing options “in virtually all parts of Florida.”
The average price for a house in Florida is $277,429, rising to $323,094 in Palm Beach County and $407,245 in Miami, according to data from Zillow. In New York, in comparison, average house prices are $323,094 for the city and $649,490 for the state.
And it isn’t just houses that cost less in the Sunshine Site. Overall living costs in Orlando are 6% lower than the US average, Barnes said.
Florida’s transport networks are growing
There are a lot of transport developments in the pipeline for Florida, too, Boyd said. This includes Brightline, a rail system with investments from Richard Branson’s Virgin, which connects Miami to West Palm Beach, with expansion plans Orlando and Tampa.
And North Miami Beach official told Insider’s Grace Kay the city is in early talks with Elon Musk’s The Boring Company over a possible plan to build a one- to two-mile tunnel to tackle congestion.
The state has more than 100 public airports, and Tampa’s direct flights to London were part of Scherbich’s decision to relocate to the city.
Orlanda in particular bills itself as the “tomorrowland of transportation,” Barnes said. This includes serving as a hub for one of the world’s first jet-powered flying taxis, which will depart from more than 10 locations across Florida. The aircrafts by German startup Lilium will be based at Orlando’s Lake Nona, which Barnes said it “a growing testbed” for smart city technology.
“The signal is really ahead of the curve,” Boyd said.
President Joe Biden may attend mass every Sunday, but when it comes to welcoming more refugees he has thus far been a disappointment to the Catholic Church.
Biden campaigned on establishing a more humane immigration system, promising, in particular, to restore a refugee resettlement program that had been systematically gutted by his predecessor. Soon after taking office, the first Catholic in the White House in more than 50 years announced plans to resettle as many as 125,000 refugees in fiscal year 2021, which begins October 1.
But last week the Biden administration disappointed immigrants and their allies when it informed Congress it was not committed to raising the ultra-low cap on refugee admissions set by the last White House. Left unchanged, just 15,000 people, at most, would be resettled by the end of the current fiscal year. For comparison, the US admitted over 200,000 refugees in 1980.
Bishop Mario Dorsonville, head of the US Conference on Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, said Monday the country can do a lot more to help the world’s most vulnerable
“The number of refugees who will be welcomed this year is far short of what we can do as a country and is not an adequate response to the immense resettlement need,” Dorsonville, an auxiliary bishop in Washington, DC, and himself an immigrant from Colombia, said in a statement.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services is one of nine nonprofit organizations that partner with the US government to meet the needs of refugees who arrive in the country. Those seeking protection from war and repression deserve compassion and assistance, it teaches, citing the “mercy of Christ, who himself was a immigrant and child of refugees.”
‘Shocked and disappointed’
Faith leaders were aghast, then, at hearing the new administration suggest it might embrace continuity on refugees, at least for now, with Protestants joining Catholics in denouncing the status quo.
Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, an Evangelic Christian group that helps resettle refugees, said he was “shocked and disappointed” by the news. By “embracing President Trump’s historically low refugee ceiling,” he said in a statement, “President Biden is betraying his commitment to build back better.”
The White House heard the uproar. Hours after appearing content to stay put, the Biden administration put out a statement reiterating that it does not plan to stick with the last administration’s refugee policy forever; it will announce a new admissions cap for the rest of this year in the coming weeks, it said. But because the resettlement program was decimated by the last administration, spokesperson Jen Psaki lowered expectations for how many will be admitted this year, walking back an earlier goal of more than 62,000.
The Catholic Church, however, is urging the administration to go big.
“We expect the administration to recalibrate and raise this ceiling,” Bishop Dorsonville said, pointing to the “unprecedented number of refugee families seeking new homes after being persecuted for religious, political, and other reasons.” The church, he added, is in fact “disappointed that it has not done so yet.”
It is not the only area of immigration policy where Biden has disappointed some Catholics. Asylum-seekers, too, have generally experienced more of the same during the first few months of this presidency. Biden has allowed unaccompanied minors to enter the US, in contrast to a predecessor who kept them on the other side of the border.
But he has otherwise maintained his predecessor’s closed-door policy, asylees included, citing a lack of infrastructure to process new arrivals, as well as the public health risk posed by increased admissions during a pandemic.
“There is an expectation that Biden would have more humanitarian policies at the border,” Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, a Catholic group that assists migrants, recently told the Jesuit magazine America. “In practice, however, that has not happened.”