Fifty federal workers are set to arrive in New York starting this week to help with the arrival of asylum seekers in the state, a senior White House official said Tuesday.
The news comes less than two weeks after Gov. Kathy Hochul had a 2.5 hour meeting at the White House, after which she told Spectrum News in an exclusive interview that she had been promised a “surge” of resources.
The senior administration official also said a lease for the city to use Floyd Bennett Field, a federal site, to establish a shelter is set to be finalized “imminently,” potentially as early as today.
New York leaders continue to lean on the White House to do more, with Mayor Eric Adams recently warning that the migrant crisis could “destroy” New York City. Among other things, they are calling on President Joe Biden to expedite work permits for the migrants. The White House has maintained that only Congress can speed up the 150-day waiting period.
Briefing reporters Tuesday, though, a senior White House official said there is “a critical mass in New York City … that we are confident are eligible to apply for work authorization immediately.” He said they plan to engage and help them “as soon as possible.”
The Department of Homeland Security has already sent more than 1 million emails and texts to hundreds of thousands of migrants, reminding them in a variety of languages of their work authorization eligibility and how to apply, another senior Biden administration official added.
That same official dismissed an idea floated by some state leaders to grant faster state-level work permits for migrants, saying, "Employment authorization is very clearly a federal authority. And so it is not something that we would encourage states to pursue."
The Biden administration has allocated $140 million to New York to help with sheltering, and they are urging Congress to approve additional funding the state could benefit from as part of a supplemental funding bill. Its fate is unclear on Capitol Hill.
Clarification: The lease for Floyd Bennett Field is set to be signed imminently and the lease of the federal site will be for New York City to use.