By: Christian Wade | The Center Square contributor
New York state is plowing more taxpayer money into providing legal services for tens of thousands of asylum-seekers who have arrived in the state amid a surge of immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Tuesday that the state will be providing an additional $38 million to help migrants fill out paperwork to get legal status and navigate the federal immigration system.
The move follows President Joe Biden’s decision last month to extend the federal government’s temporary protected status to about 475,000 Venezuelan asylum-seekers who have arrived in the country before July 31, allowing them to work in the U.S. legally. The new TPS status for Venezuelans went into effect on Tuesday.
“Our job now is to ensure these individuals fill out all the appropriate paperwork so they can attain work authorization, find a job, and exit taxpayer-funded shelter,” the governor said.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, whose administration is struggling to provide housing for migrants amid a surge of immigration, welcomed the move and said the additional state funding will bolster efforts “to help thousands of migrants obtain work and eventually move out of shelter.”
“We were proud to lead the call to ‘Let Them Work’ and are grateful that the federal government heard us and has expanded the pathways to work for many of those in the city’s care,” he said.
So far, New York state has provided more than $88 million to help with “case management” for migrants.
That doesn’t include the cost of 150 National Guard troops deployed two weeks ago to help migrants fill out paperwork to apply for federal employment authorization.
Overall, the state has spent an estimated $1.7 billion on asylum seekers, including for shelter, transportation and social services, according to the Hochul administration.
Hochul was among those who lobbied Biden to extend the TPS designation for Venezuelans, arguing that it would ease pressure on the state’s beleaguered emergency shelter system.
Earlier this week, Hochul touted more than 18,000 job openings in New York state for newly authorized Venezuelan asylum-seekers, ranging in industries from hospitality, health and social services to manufacturing, retail and construction.
New York Republicans have pushed back against the efforts, arguing that TPS and “sanctuary” policies are encouraging migrants who enter the country illegally to travel to the state.
New York City has seen more than 118,000 asylum-seekers arrive in the city amid a surge of undocumented immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border over the past year. The city is currently providing housing, food and other necessities for more than 61,000 migrants, a cost that’s expected to reach $12 billion in the next two years.
Adams, embarking on a four-day trip to Latin America on Wednesday, has said the migrant crisis will “destroy” the Big Apple if the federal government doesn’t provide additional funding or resources.