Gov. Kathy Hochul continued her calls to Congress Wednesday to tackle immigration that addresses the migrant influx New York currently faces, taking direct aim at Republicans in the House of Representatives who have recently called on her to call a special legislative session in Albany to handle the crisis on the state level.
“Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy, other than wasting his time pursing idiotic ideas like impeaching the president based on nothing, ought to bring back the Republicans, of which there are nine from the state of New York, who should be feeling this and hearing about this, instead of calling on us to do something,” Hochul said at a briefing in New York City. “Immigration is a federal problem. It calls for a federal solution. President Biden has bills out there, ideas out there on how we can work together with Republicans, and they won’t get back to work and deal with this.”
One of Hochul’s biggest requests from the federal government has been to expediate the workforce authorization process for the thousands of people who have arrived from the Southern border.
The governor on Tuesday raised the prospect of a state-level authorization and there are two bills in the Legislature that would create some version of that. At the same time, the White House on Tuesday said it would discourage states from that kind of action. Hochul said she has told the White House that the state is in a desperate situation.
“We can solve both problems. The humanitarian crisis, give these people what they came for, and take care of a real problem our economy is, which a severe shortage of workers,” Hochul said. “The answer’s right there. Republicans ought to get their acts together, show up, do their jobs, stop pointing the fingers and actually do something useful for once.”
Republicans, meanwhile, including those nine New York House members Hochul alluded to, have been calling on Hochul to call an extraordinary session of the Legislature in Albany to deal with the crisis.
"My office, we have pursued everything we can at the federal level," U.S. Rep. Brandon Williams, who represents New York’s 22nd Congressional District, told reporters in Syracuse on Monday.
State Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay told Capital Tonight last week that Republicans have put forward several pieces of legislation, including ensuring that funding is not used to shelter migrants in schools, day care centers or community-based organizations. They have also introduced a bill requiring that the state register all migrants to assist with background checks.
Hochul has recently said she hasn’t ruled out a special session and on Wednesday said she is continuing to weigh and entertain all options.
“We talked about if there were to be a session, what would be involved?" she said. "And we’re trying to game out and figure out, you know, what is the objective of that? There has to be an objective. Of course, I can call anyone any time, but it has to be for a certain objective.”