NEW YORK — New York Democrats banded together Monday with a simple message for President Joe Biden: Put asylum-seekers to work.
New York City Mayor Adams, Gov. Kathy Hochul, Reps. Dan Goldman and Jerry Nadler joined labor and business leaders at a Brooklyn press conference to ask Biden for special federal work authorization for the tens of thousands of migrants who’ve arrived in the state since last year.
The state’s top Democrats called for expedited executive action to alleviate some of the pressure on the city’s social safety net.
“Without legislation, we can get this done,” Hochul said.
It was the first time a group of powerful New York Democrats have banded together to press Biden on immigration — a significant issue in the 2024 elections. Party infighting on immigration would weaken Biden’s reelection campaign and provide an easy line of attack to Republicans.
A White House official responded to the New York Democrats by saying certain populations are already eligible for work authorization and pointed to the administration’s use of Temporary Protected Status.
“We need Congress to act,” the official said in a statement. “Only they can reform and modernize our decades-old immigration laws.”
New York becomes key political battleground for immigration debate
Once migrants arrive in the U.S., they have to wait 180 days after filing an application for required paperwork. The backlog fuels an underground economy that makes workers vulnerable to exploitation. Meanwhile, New York City is struggling to fill thousands of vacancies across municipal agencies.
Adams and Hochul urged an expansion of Temporary Protected Status, a program that allows certain immigrants to work legally in the U.S., to more countries. The state needs additional immigration judges, too, they said.
The New York Farm Bureau, an industry group, backed the call for expedited work visas. “There are good opportunities to be a part of our valuable food system, and we will continue to work with the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets along with Cornell’s Agricultural Workforce Development program to find a pathway forward,” the group’s president David Fisher said in a statement.
The issue has further united Hochul and Adams— even if it puts them at odds with the leader of their party. The mayor said the governor dropped by City Hall just last week to talk about the migrant crisis.
Compared to Adams, Hochul has been less forceful in her criticism of Biden. She remains on the team of 50 powerful Democrats helping his reelection campaign. Adams was dropped from the group as he continued to criticize the president’s approach to the migrant crisis, which irked White House aides according to Axios and The New York Times.
Meanwhile, two dozen counties in New York have issued states of emergency to try to block migrants from coming to their communities — often to no avail. Buses of the newcomers were sent to the Catskills and Poughkeepsie in recent days, despite local objections.
Dutchess County Executive William O’Neil said Monday the county has received no information about the migrants who showed up Sunday at an area hotel — a deal that the facilities struck privately with the city.
“Despite requests to NYC for information, the county has no information about these individuals, including their identities, how long they’ll be in our community, or the total number of people,” said O’Neil, who estimated that about 60 to 80 people showed up by bus from the city.
He said the county will go to court, as others have to try to fight the move.
“New York City has shown no willingness to coordinate or collaborate with Dutchess County, and New York State has been complicit in exacerbating the issue,” he said.
Adams has argued that his team notifies local officials ahead of the relocations and pays for their lodging.
Also Monday, State Senate Republicans announced a new package of legislation on the subject. It included a bill to require more detailed disclosure of the $1 billion in state aid to address the crisis. The Republicans introduced two other bills that would prohibit the housing of migrants on school grounds after Democrats proposed putting asylum-seekers in city public school gyms and state university campuses.
“It’s hard for me to believe that we have come to a point in this country and this state’s history … that we need a law to protect New York state students, from kindergarten all the way through college, to protect them from the governor of New York state,” Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) said.
Bill Mahoney contributed to this report.
( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )