Governor asks president for help with asylum seekers

May 17, 2023 at 05:46 pm by Observer-Review

NEW YORK STATE--Gov. Kathy Hochul last week issued a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to direct additional federal resources to the State of New York as it faces unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers. Building on ongoing conversations with federal, state, and local leaders, Hochul convened meetings with New York’s bipartisan Congressional delegation, the New York Association of Counties, and the New York Conference of Mayors to provide updates on the state’s efforts to support asylum seekers and further aid needed to address this situation. This has largely focused on New York City so far, but leaders there have been looking at options to deal with the influx brought in by buses from border states.
“New Yorkers are working together to welcome asylum seekers and provide the necessary shelter and resources for these individuals who are simply coming to our state looking for a better life,” Hochul said. “For months, I have been urging our federal leaders to provide needed flexibility and additional support for New York as we handle unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers arriving in our state. I will continue working hand-in-hand with leaders from all levels of government to coordinate our statewide response and secure the resources we need to support these new arrivals.”
Earlier last week, Hochul issued an executive order that is providing the state with greater flexibility to procure the resources necessary for municipalities to support asylum seekers and allowing the state to increase the National Guard mobilization to 1,500 service members. Hochul also worked with the legislature to include a $1 billion funding commitment in the FY24 state budget for New York City, including $741 million for shelter costs, $162 million to support the ongoing National Guard presence, $137 million for health care to support certain eligible asylum seekers, $26 million in public assistance, $25 million for the voluntary relocation of families to permanent housing and an additional $5 million for enhanced support through the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and $10 million for legal assistance through the Office of New Americans.
Governor Hochul has pushed for additional federal support, specifically regarding funding and shortened waiting periods before asylum seekers can legally work, in conversations with President Biden, DHS Secretary Mayorkas, Chief of Staff Zients, former Chief of Staff Klain and other federal officials.
An excerpt text of Governor Hochul’s letter to the President is below:
“Dear President Biden:
In anticipation of several thousand asylum seekers arriving in New York City every week, I am submitting this request for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to direct the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Park Service (NPS) to provide New York State assistance through the immediate construction and operation of temporary shelters on federal lands and property to house individuals seeking political asylum. The use of a portion of Floyd Bennett Field within the Gateway National Recreation Area and other spaces on military installations, including naval resources, in and across the Northeast is necessary to utilize all available space to maintain critical and essential public services, specifically sheltering and housing.
As you are aware, in August 2021, the Director of the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a Public Health Reassessment and Order Suspending the Right to Introduce Certain Person from Countries Where a Quarantinable Communicable Disease Exists, also known as Title 42. This order prohibited migration into the United States by “covered noncitizens” traveling from Canada or Mexico (regardless of their country of origin) who would otherwise be introduced into a congregate setting in a port of entry or U.S. Border Patrol station at or near the U.S. land and adjacent coastal borders.
New York City (NYC) has exceeded capacity in its shelter system which includes providing temporary housing and support for over 36,700 migrants at 120 locations. NYC has opened dozens of Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers and short-term respite centers, which have occupied more than 40 percent of mid-level hotel stock in NYC.”
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