Concerns within the Biden administration are intensifying regarding New York City’s approach to its escalating migrant crisis, with the assertion that the city is not adequately addressing the situation.
Following a detailed assessment by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), multiple United States officials have identified substantial gaps within the city’s strategy.
A senior DHS official conveyed to NBC News that NYC’s current approach is “not an operationally sound effort” and highlighted the absence of a clear “exit strategy” for migrants in city shelters.
This increasing migrant challenge threatens to overshadow the Biden administration’s accomplishments in immigration and other areas, another official pointed out to the outlet.
Mayor Eric Adams has previously warned that the escalating migrant crisis could be detrimental to the city’s stability, stating, “This issue will destroy New York City.”
The city has repeatedly appealed for more pronounced assistance from the federal and state governments following its massive expenditures on emergency provisions.
Addressing federal criticisms, a city spokesperson insisted on the need for greater involvement from the federal administration.
Kayla Mamelak, deputy press secretary in the Mayor’s office, remarked, “As we have said repeatedly, with more than 110,000 asylum-seekers that have come through our care since spring 2022, and hundreds more arriving daily, we cannot continue to work to solve a national crisis that the federal government has refused to take meaningful action on.”
Mamelak added, “New York City has far passed its breaking point, and we continue to call on our federal partners to expedite work authorizations, declare a national state of emergency, create a decompression strategy, and lead on this national issue.”
Recent collaborative efforts between the Biden administration and NYC have emerged, focusing on provisions like leased spaces for shelters and federal personnel guidance for migrants.
Yet, the overarching challenge remains: effectively identifying and guiding migrants who could be eligible for work and other benefits.
According to a DHS official, the assessment team advised providing migrants with guidance on navigating the shelter system, obtaining work authorization, and exploring asylum options.
The team also suggested that the city needs to enhance data collection on arriving immigrants, especially concerning work eligibility, emphasizing case management as a key exit strategy to transition migrants off the streets.
The city has also expressed grievances regarding federal initiatives. Adams has urged the DHS to provide many New York migrants with temporary protected status, which would enable them to seek work permits. However, DHS officials contend that such a move isn’t straightforward.
New York’s “right to shelter” mandate obliges the city to offer shelter to everyone, irrespective of their immigration status. Adams believes this policy acts as an attraction for migrants.
The Mayor has also pointed fingers at external factors like Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to bus migrants to various cities, including NYC.