Gov. Hochul visited Washington to appeal for more migrant aid Wednesday, emerging with what she characterized as much-needed but insufficient commitments three days after the Biden administration offered New York City a round of criticism over the crisis.
The White House pledged to “provide personnel, data and resources” to identify thousands of migrants in New York who are eligible for work permits, Hochul said in a statement.
“This is a critical first step but make no mistake: it is not enough to fully address this crisis or provide the level of support that New Yorkers need and deserve,” the governor added. “I am grateful to the White House for agreeing to continue these productive discussions.”
Hochul spoke for about 150 minutes with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, according to the governor’s office. Her statement described the conversation as “frank and productive.”
In its own statement, the White House said it would join New York in embarking upon a “month of action to help close the gap between non-citizens who are eligible for work authorization and those who have applied.”
The arrival of more than 100,000 asylum seekers in New York since last year has severely stretched the city’s shelter system and put significant strain on the relationships between Hochul, Mayor Adams and President Biden, who are all moderate Democrats.
As the governor arrived in the nation’s capital, officials in New York City were still stewing over advice offered by the Biden administration earlier in the week.
Responding to long-running calls from Adams for more federal help and a speech from Hochul last week intended to pressure Biden, the Homeland Security Department on Sunday sent a letter outlining about 24 ways the city could better handle the crisis.
The Biden administration’s advice, delivered in parallel documents to Adams and Hochul, also came with a list of 11 New York-area sites suggested as possible migrant shelters.
Among the sites: the Atlantic City Airport in New Jersey, a naval center north of Albany in Schenectady, N.Y., and a small airport in Massena, N.Y., according to the list, which was obtained by the Daily News and previously reported by Bloomberg News.
The Massena Airport serves about 30 passengers a day, according to its website. It is located along the Canadian border in a conservative section of the state roughly 300 miles from New York City.
The Homeland Security Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment for this story.
Last week, Hochul said the White House had tentatively offered a long-sought lease agreement that would allow New York to put a state-funded migrant shelter at an airfield in southeast Brooklyn.
But the offer of the site, Floyd Bennett Field on Jamaica Bay, has hardly satisfied New York officials.
Waves of arrivals, many fleeing political and economic turmoil in Central and South America, have sent city officials scrambling over the past year. About 60,000 asylum seekers are currently in New York City’s care, according to the Adams administration.
The city projects the costs of the crisis could balloon to $12 billion by 2025. The population of the shelter system has doubled since last summer.
Responding to the influx, the city has opened more than 200 shelter sites and helped the asylum seekers travel to far-off locations, including Canada.