Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar unveiled a potentially game-changing legislation, bill A07992, on Thursday, September 7th. This proposed law, if greenlit, would prevent counties from blocking migrants from being relocated to their counties. Rajkumar’s initiative is being perceived by many as New York’s countermeasure to the intensifying migrant influx that’s been the talk of the town.
The introduction of Bill A07992 has not only sparked fervent discussions in political corridors, with lawmakers of upstate counties pushing back on the legislation claiming the “right-to-shelter” law only pertains to New York City.
Rajkumar said, “It is time for New York State to lead a Statewide response as New York City faces one of the greatest humanitarian crises in its history.”
She continued, “The State must enlist all its counties to help New York City shelter migrants because the strength of our entire State depends on New York City continuing to be a strong economic engine.”
Mayor Eric Adams has been candid about the toll the migrant crisis is taking on the city. In a town hall held on Wednesday, September 6th, Adams voiced his concerns, stating, “The city is on the brink. We’re looking at numbers that we just can’t sustain.”
He continued, “I’m gonna tell you something, New Yorkers, never in my life have I had a problem that I didn’t see an ending to. I don’t see an end to this. This issue will destroy New York City.”
With the city playing host to an overwhelming 110,000 migrants since the spring of 2022 and expected to spend at least $12 billion on their care over the next two years, Adams’s concerns about New York’s logistical and infrastructural capacities are not without merit. Currently, nearly 60,000 of these migrants are in the city’s care.
Adams has been on the frontlines, spearheading conversations and requesting that the Biden administration expedite the work permit process for migrants as well as send aid to the city for the thousands of asylum seeking migrants flocking to New York daily. Adams has insisted that the way out of the crisis is through a holistic integration of the migrants but has stated that in order for that to occur, the city must receive assistance. By empowering migrants with the right to work, they can seamlessly weave into the city’s socio-economic fabric, enriching its cultural mosaic and bolstering the economy.
While the prospect of work permits seems promising, some argue that it would make the issue worse, incentivizing more migrants to come. They also argue that such initiatives don’t delve deep into the root causes of the migration surge or its long-term implications for the city.