The Biden administration has countered claims that they have not sufficiently assisted New York with its migrant crisis.
Instead, the federal government pointed to the city’s and the state’s administrative and structural issues as the causes of the escalating migrant problem. These assertions came after ongoing discussions and confrontations between city, state, and federal representatives on the best way forward.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas formally wrote to Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul. In his letters, Mayorkas highlighted several areas of concern that the federal team identified during their recent inspection.
These areas of concern revolved around operational facets like “data collection, planning, case management, communications, and other aspects of day-to-day operations.”
Mayorkas mentioned that the problems in the city’s migrant operations came to light when a federal evaluation team visited New York City earlier this month, inspecting shelter locations, including the Roosevelt Hotel intake center.
The administration’s reaction follows Governor Hochul’s remarks, attributing the migrant issue’s roots to the federal government and urging its resolution at the same level. Notably, she had previously sought the use of federal lands for temporary shelter to accommodate the surge of asylum-seekers.
Reacting to this, Mayorkas enumerated the provision of a hangar at JFK Airport and the identification of 11 federal properties as potential housing solutions.
However, the most alarming aspect for city and state officials was Mayorkas’ mention of providing only non-specific “recommendations” rather than concrete support or actionable plans.
Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul have been vocal about their frustrations, emphasizing the pressing need for federal involvement and support.
A City Hall spokesperson pointedly expressed the city’s standpoint: “New York City has led the nation in handling this humanitarian crisis for more than a year… Our requests from the federal government remain the same, and, quite frankly, unaddressed.”
Governor Hochul further echoed the sentiment of urgency and dissatisfaction, consistently appealing to the federal government to expedite the work permit process for arriving migrants.
She stated, “This crisis will only abate once the federal government takes action on work authorization that allows migrants to be resettled permanently.”
Mayorkas acknowledged Hochul’s call for timely work permits but underlined legal restrictions, such as the 150-day waiting period for asylum-seeking migrants to qualify for work permits, as significant impediments.
On the city’s end, there’s a pressing demand for faster work permits for asylum-seeking migrants, a comprehensive border strategy, and an emergency status to channel more federal funds. The city has earmarked significant resources, totaling $1.7 billion, towards relevant services and infrastructure.
The data paints a compelling picture of the severity of the crisis. Since its onset in April 2022, New York City has witnessed an unprecedented influx of over 104,400 migrants. City-run shelters across the five boroughs currently accommodate more than 59,000 asylum seekers.