The New York City Council is urging the Biden administration to accelerate the issuance of work permits for the more than 45,000 immigrants residing in city-funded facilities across the five boroughs. The City Council argues that delays in permit authorization place a significant burden on the city’s budget.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Councilwoman Gale Brewer, and 65 other city and state representatives called for immediate action to grant work authorization to the city’s asylum seekers via Humanitarian Parole and Temporary Protected Status. The letter further requested increased staff at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to hasten application processing.
The council members highlighted the financial hardship asylum seekers face without work, which results in dependence on the city’s social services and non-profit organizations. This dependence leads to a considerable strain on the city’s budget.
Amid ongoing budget negotiations and predictions of additional cuts, the City Council is preparing to discuss the impacts of the migrant crisis with members of New York’s congressional delegation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and White House officials.
According to City Hall’s recent data, approximately 47,200 migrants currently reside in 162 emergency hotels and other locations, pressurizing the city’s budget, which is already potentially facing cuts due to migrant-related expenses exceeding the $4.3 billion mark over two years.
The council members noted that the Department of Homeland Security could grant Humanitarian Parole and Temporary Protected Status without congressional action. However, application backlogs at USCIS have extended waiting periods for work permits.
Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams publicly requested last month that the Biden administration waive the waiting period for work permits and grant temporary protected status to migrants. However, the White House countered that these changes necessitate congressional action.