New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Thursday urged the Biden Administration to increase federal aid and enact policies to cope with a surge of migrants arriving in her state.
In a live-streamed video address, Hochul said that the arrival of 100,000 asylum seekers in New York State required a “historic humanitarian response.”
She said she’d written to President Biden, asking that he take executive action to address the migrant crisis, even as she accused Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) of making the “despicable decision” to load migrants onto buses to make “cheap political points” in which the migrants are “pawns.”
Abbott began busing migrants to “sanctuary cities” last year as part of his Operations Lone Star program, which is also responsible for placing a floating barrier with circular saws as well as razor wire in the Rio Grande—a practice over which the U.S. Department of Justice is suing Texas based on humanitarian concerns.
Hocul’s letter to Biden includes a request for immediate executive action in four key areas:
• expedited work authorization to allow migrants “the ability to work to support themselves and their families”;
• financial support for schools, health care, legal services, case management and shelter;
• the use of more federal facilities to create more temporary housing;
• and reimbursement for the cost of some 1,900 New York National Guard Members who’ve been “on the ground” at migrant shelters throughout the state.
Hochul on Thursday said the city and state of New York have been pouring “billions of dollars” into helping the migrants in the above areas since they began arriving last year.
Without a federal work designation, migrants have often struggled to find work and are often exploited by wage theft as well as seamy and sometimes dangerous work conditions. Hochul asserted that an executive action in that regard would also help solve worker shortages in New York State.
Notwithstanding federal help or federal policy, Hochul said the state plans to launch a new program in September to help place asylum seekers in jobs “just as soon as they’re legally able to work.” She’s further ordering the Department of Labor to “proactively” connect asylum seekers with potential employers in anticipation of their receiving work authorization.
Since the borders and decisions about who can work are solely determined by the federal government, Hochul said she and New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) have been discussing the migrant issue with both the Biden Administration and the U.S. Congress.
The governor wrapped by urging every New Yorker to contact their members of Congress to urge comprehensive immigration reform.