Biden proposes to take migrants from New York: options for places are surprising
The Biden administration has several proposals on where New York can house some of the 60,000 newly arrived asylum seekers. According to Bloomberg, these are remote sites located closer to Montreal than Manhattan, the Long Island tax office and Atlantic City International Airport.
Some of the Biden administration-provided facilities are on a list of federally owned properties sent this week by US Department of Homeland Security officials to Mayor Eric Adams as possible migrant accommodations.
Most are outside the city, including Stewart International Airport, a small Hudson Valley facility often used by private jet owners. The location of Atlantic City is generally located in another state – New Jersey. One recommended site, Massena International Airport, is 365 miles (588 km) from the city, in remote St. Lawrence County on the Canadian border of New York State. It serves as a US customs port for entry from Canada.
New York Gov. Kathy Hokul’s office cited a statement she made last week: “We cannot and will not force other parts of our state to provide asylum to migrants, nor do we intend to ask these migrants to move to other parts of the state against their will.” .
The list of federally owned sites was the latest point of frustration in an escalating standoff between the Biden administration and New York State over how best to deal with migrants. The saga has exposed a rift between some of the country’s most senior Democrats ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
On the subject: What help can immigrants get in New York: useful resources and programs from the city hall
Adams has been publicly criticizing the Biden administration for months now for its unwillingness to help the city with logistics and migrant aid costs. They continue to arrive by the hundreds every week, and in the past 18 months, more than 200 temporary shelters have been set up in the city in commercial hotels, office buildings and temporary tent structures on city and government property. According to the latest estimates of the city authorities, spending on these purposes by 2025 could reach $12 billion.
The reaction of local authorities
One of the properties on the list that has already reached an agreement between local and federal authorities is the Floyd Bennett field in Brooklyn, which Hokul specifically requested. Biden approved it to house migrants.
Hokul and Adams have stepped up calls for Biden to act – they are asking the president to issue an emergency statement that would free up federal funding to deal with the crisis and grant some migrants temporary protected status, which would speed up the process to allow them to legally work in the US.
This week, a group of more than 100 top New York City business leaders signed a letter urging federal authorities to expedite work permit procedures for migrants.
The Biden administration has its own criticisms. Interior Secretary Alejandro Mallorcas released a couple of letters this week outlining challenges in New York City’s “structural and operational” work with migrants, and promised to share about two dozen recommendations with City officials to improve the situation.
Asylum seekers’ advocates have said that these places are too far away from job opportunities to be useful. “In these places, it is unlikely that anyone will be able to access at least some work,” said Josh Goldfein, staff lawyer at Legal Aid. “This is far from legal services and from access to medical care.”
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