Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Year : 2, Issue : 6
New York’s migrant crisis has once again become a political issue between Democrats and Republicans, and this time, it’s playing out in state budget negotiations.
Gov. Kathy Hochul is proposing spending $2.4 billion to help house and feed some of the over 160,000 migrants who have entered New York during the past year. She wants to take $500 million from the state’s reserve funds to help pay for the migrants’ needs.
She outlined her plans at her state budget presentation in January.
“Because the number of migrants and expenses have only grown, I am proposing that we draw $500 million from state reserves that are intended for one-time emergencies like this,” she said on Jan. 16. “This will help manage the migrant crisis for a total of $2.4 billion.”
The governor says the migrant and school aid proposals are unrelated. But Republicans, who are in the minority in state government, see a connection.
Sen. Jack Martins, a Republican for Long Island, spoke at a news conference to support school funding, where he said schools in his Senate district face reductions.
He blamed policies begun by Democratic administrations in local governments, including designating New York City as a sanctuary city for immigrants.
Hochul argues that the GOP is conflating the two issues and twisting the narrative. She said Republicans in New York should call on their leadership in Congress to sign on to an immigration reform deal that has bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate.
On Monday, Hochul called out New York’s Republican congressional delegation to back the deal. She said together, they have enough votes to get the immigration reform approved, which she said would limit border entry and bring New York billions of dollars to help house and feed migrants who are already here.
“I am calling on all 10 of the members of the delegation who are in the majority, the 10 Republicans who have enough, just by banding together to support their state, they have enough of a voice to work together with the Democrats and have enough votes to make sure that this can become a reality,” Hochul said.
Shortly after Hochul spoke, the House GOP leadership issued a statement saying, for the second day in a row, that the bill is dead on arrival.
Hochul is accusing the GOP of wanting to “keep the chaos going” for political advantage in the 2024 presidential election, where President Joe Biden is likely to face Republican former President Donald Trump.