Mayor Adams Calls for the Employment of Migrants
Mayor Eric Adams’ administration has seen New York City receive an influx of asylum-seeking migrants. This has led him to call for the migrants to be granted the opportunity to seek and gain meaningful employment.
In the last few months, New York has seen the arrival of over 10,000 migrants. The migrants have arrived in desperate circumstances and are dependent on the city for a myriad of resources. Adams believes it would be wise to allow them to gain employment, and become self-dependent rather than sitting idly for six months.
Migrants seeking employment in the United States have to apply for employment authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a process that would take at least six months. Previously, a federal rule ensured that applications are processed within 30 days but that requirement was changed in August 2020.
“I think it’s imperative that we look at the employment. Think about this for a moment. We’re telling migrants and asylum seekers, ‘You can come to the country but for six months you can’t work.’ What? Six months you can’t work,” Adams said during an interview on Tuesday, September 13th with Jen Judson, President of the National Press Club.
“So six months you are having people who just sit idly by, waiting. So who’s supposed to pick up the tab for that? If the federal government is saying that for six months you can’t work, then the federal government should be saying for six months we [are] going to compensate you. Because someone has to pay for that,” the mayor added.
Adams pointed to the fact that there was a shortage of workers in specific sectors and that any extra hands would be welcome. “The strange thing is, particularly in New York and across the country, there’s such a demand for, [a] need of employees. Many of my industries are dying to get employees,” said Adams. “So, if you are a nurse from Venezuela, why am I having you sit down and not be using your medical profession to help in the hospitals that we have a shortage of nurses.”
While the city’s unemployment rate sits at 6.1%, which is higher than the national average of 3.7%, city agencies are in need of more employees. According to the Independent Budget Office’s statistics dating back to June 30th, city departments have a vacancy rate of 8%. At a City Council hearing, it was heard that the figure is as high as 20% in some departments.
Adams received support from members of the City Council, particularly from the speaker, Adrienne Adams, and Manhattan Councilwoman Gale Brewer. The council members wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader and Kirsten Gillibrand requesting a change in the process at the USCIS in order to make it quicker for the migrants to get work.
“We write to urge your support in requesting that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expedite processing times for applications for employment authorization (Form I-765) for individuals seeking asylum,” wrote Brewer, Speaker Adams, and five other members of the City Council in the letter.