New hurdles continue to emerge as New York City continues to handle the ongoing border crisis. According to recent reports, out of the tens of thousands of migrants that have flocked to the city, a mere 2% have applied for work authorizations.
Based on data provided by City Hall, only approximately 800 migrants have taken the steps necessary to become work-eligible following an 18-month border crisis that saw a significant influx of asylum-seeking migrants.
Securing work permits for asylum-seeking migrants has been a focal point of Mayor Eric Adams’s prolonged efforts to offset the anticipated $12 billion strain on New York City.
However, the newly released data paints a picture of stagnation and indicates that integrating migrants into the workforce is an uphill battle.
Queens Councilman Bob Holden commented on the situation, saying, “That is almost like watching paint dry.” He added, “It’s showing that government, no matter what level, city, state, and federal, isn’t cut out to handle this.”
The data unveils more layers to the complexity. Not only is there an unclear count of migrants eligible for work due to inadequate tracking by city, state, or federal entities, but also, just a quarter of the migrants in NYC have submitted their asylum applications.
Securing asylum is crucial as it initiates their work permit eligibility timeline, which might extend for an additional six months.
Councilwoman Diane Ayala pointed out, “The issue here is a lot of mismanagement, you’ve got too many hands in the pot. Everything that comes out of this administration changes from day to day.”
The discord between different government bodies has reached such a state that no city officials are even aware if any of the 800 migrants who sought work visas have been approved.
Furthermore, when considering the city’s financial position, estimates indicate potential savings of up to $140 million annually for every 1,000 asylum-seeking migrants transitioning out of the shelter system.
In a proactive effort, City Hall recently initiated a survey to discern the work eligibility of the migrant population dispersed across over 200 makeshift shelters throughout NYC. However, this measure is projected to span several weeks.
Mayor Adams has been forthright in expressing his mounting displeasure with the White House’s inaction. In a poignant statement on Thursday, September 14th, Adams lamented, “People are critiquing how we managed the work papers, and the people who are critiquing them are seeing thousands upon thousands of people come into our country and end up in New York City?”
He then questioned, “So a crisis that is created nationally we’re looking at a local city to solve it?”
On Friday, September 15th, hundreds of migrants queued at federal offices in Lower Manhattan, seeking immigration services and court appointments.
City Hall officials emphasized that tracking asylum-seeking migrants post-entry should be a federal responsibility, given its immigration nature.”