NEW YORK (PIX11) — There may be a major problem with New York City’s plan to care for the more than 70,000 asylum seekers who have come to town.
Just Wednesday, leading staffers for Mayor Eric Adams handling the crisis admitted only a tiny fraction of those cared for by the city have filed for asylum, meaning there would be no way for them to work legally, which the city said is the fastest way to help resolve this migrant crisis.
Now leading progressive lawmakers and advocacy groups are pushing New York City to allocate $70 million to help with legal services for asylum seekers.
Comptroller Brad Lander said for all the time, effort, and money spent during the last year to support migrants.
“We have failed to say, are you aware of what you need to do to file your asylum application? Do you need a clinic? Do you need representation?” said Lander.
The Mayor and Governor have been outspoken in pushing the Biden administration to speed up work authorizations for asylum seekers, which generally take six months.
The goal is to more quickly get migrants jobs that would allow them to move out of the shelter. However, as things stand now, it would be meaningless for the majority of migrants in the city because they have not even begun the cumbersome paperwork.
“Our city can absolutely and must be a leader in creating a pathway toward work authorizations and other housing resources,” said Brooklyn Councilwoman Shahana Hanif.
Without directly addressing the request for $70 million, Mayor Adams pushed back on other lawmakers who kept asking for more money during a tight budget cycle.
He also ripped the federal government for communicating to the city it would only be sending at most $36 million in the next round of migrant relief. The city expects the crisis to cost $4.3 billion over the next few years.
“Just think about this,” Adams said. “Border states, receiving more than us, are using that money to bus migrants to the city– that’s not even logical.”
Lander argues that actually paying for more legal services now will save hundreds of millions by next year because the city, in theory, would need less shelter space.