Migrant Crisis Grows As NYC Grapples With Funding Issues

Courtesy of The New York Times

By Allison Dubrow

 

  The migrant crisis continues to grow as city leaders debate over funding to help solve the predicament that began in the spring of 2022. New York City has already spent $1.45 billion to help asylum seekers with regard to food, shelter, and other services, according to Mayor Eric Adams’ administration. Recently, there have been many disputes over where to house the migrants.

   Mayor Adams has stated that the funding issue is due largely in part to the United States’ broken immigration system. “New York City has been left to pick up the pieces of a broken immigration system – one that is projected to cost our city $12 billion over the course of three fiscal years without policy changes and further support from the state and federal governments,” he said.

   Last week, there were multiple protests on Staten Island where residents expressed their discontent over the idea of migrants being housed in a shelter that was formerly a school. Many people in the community have expressed concerns that having the migrants stay in their neighborhood would be a safety concern.

  One way in which the Adams administration is trying to help the migrants is by allowing them to work. The mayor held a rally on Thursday, Aug. 31, in support of giving asylum seekers expedited work authorization. “We must expedite work visas, it’s just common sense. Thousands of jobs are available to be filled, to provide the services we need in this city, this state, this country,” said Adams. “And to have a new wave of individuals coming here to participate in the American dream says it all.”

   Without work authorization, asylum seekers are not able to legally work and, therefore, cannot provide for themselves. The hope is that if the migrants are able to receive work authorization, then they would be able to make a living and move into housing that they can afford. For Governor Kathy Hocul, authorization is key to helping the migrants.

   “As New Yorkers know, securing expedited work authorization for asylum seekers and migrants has been and remains my top priority. It is the only way to help asylum seekers become self-sustaining, so they can move into permanent housing,” said Governor Hochul.

   The obstacles that migrants face in getting work authorization are due to the fact that it is based on immigration laws that require waiting months on end. In addition to that, the influx of migrants has been so large that there is a backlog.

   On Aug. 28, business executives signed a letter to President Joe Biden requesting more federal help as “the New York business community is deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the continued flow of asylum seekers into our country.”

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