Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has urged Governor Kathy Hochul to take legal action against President Joe Biden’s administration to recover the billions of dollars spent by New York while dealing with the migrant crisis.
Cuomo made his appeal during a recent episode of his “As a Matter of Fact” podcast, where he criticized Biden, saying, “The emperor has no clothes.”
Cuomo repeatedly emphasized that the responsibility for immigration and border enforcement lies with the federal government, not New York City or the Empire State.
The ex-governor expressed his frustration with the federal government’s handling of the situation, criticizing their support for migrants using local and state taxpayer dollars instead of allowing states to issue work permits.
He stated, “A state should take the position that the federal government policy is impossible to implement. And that the state should allow the migrants to work.”
Cuomo added, “The states should just do it since the federal government has abdicated its responsibility. The state must act and protect its own interests.”
He asked, “What would the federal government do in response? Sue the state?
Responding to his own question, Cuomo said, “The state should be suing the federal government for the cost of the entire fiasco.”
The ex-governor argued that allowing migrants to work would alleviate the burden on the city government, as they would not have to bear the cost of their shelter and other services.
Cuomo also likened the handling of the migrant crisis by Biden and fellow Democrats to “the army marching off the cliff, one after the other” saying, “It makes no sense.”
Cuomo, who resigned as governor in 2021 amidst sexual misconduct allegations that he denies, stressed that this issue is not a political one, stating, “This is not a political issue when we’re doing something that hurts the public and makes no sense. We have to stand up and say, ‘This makes no sense.'”
He argued that the Biden administration should cover the entire cost of the migrant crisis rather than burdening local governments, particularly New York City.
Cuomo stated, “There is no rationale to force the city to pay for the problems they have nothing to do with.”
He further emphasized the additional challenge of cities having smaller tax bases that are already strained.
Cuomo pointed out that cities are grappling with their own complex situations, attempting to provide shelters for migrants while being overwhelmed by the homeless population in need of shelter and affordable housing.
He also criticized the federal government for its failure to accurately locate the migrants, hinting that the actual number could be significantly higher due to this shortcoming.
Since Spring 2022, over 113,000 migrants have received shelter and assistance in the city, with some working off the books in an underground economy, potentially taking jobs from legal residents.
Mayor Eric Adams estimated that aiding asylum seekers could cost up to $12 billion over three years, with about half of the city’s shelter system occupants being asylum seekers.
Cuomo’s podcast aired before the Biden administration’s announcement of temporary protected status for Venezuelan asylum seekers, which would make it easier for migrants in New York to obtain work visas. This decision came after appeals from Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams.
During the podcast, Cuomo interviewed Assemblywoman Jaime Williams, who represents parts of Brooklyn near Floyd Bennett Field, a national park used as an emergency encampment for 2,000 male migrants.
Both Cuomo and Williams criticized President Biden and Governor Hochul for using a national park for emergency shelter, which Williams described as an “abuse of power.”
Williams pointed to a federal law that prohibits national parks from being used for housing and criticized the state for paying $20 million to operate a tent city at Floyd Bennett Field, arguing that Washington, D.C. should bear these costs.
Cuomo and Williams both raised concerns about the impact of the migrant crisis on local communities and questioned the allocation of taxpayer resources for this purpose.
Williams emphasized the need to prioritize the welfare of citizens over political considerations and highlighted the challenges faced by her constituents.