Hochul recruits town chiefs to help the immigrants

It’s been more than a month since Gov. Kathy Hochul rejoiced in the fruits of her labor, having personally lobbied the White House for months to lift restrictions faced by immigrants who want to work legally in New York.

US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has determined that Venezuelan migrants face abnormally dangerous conditions in their homeland, granting a group of them the ability to apply for reauthorized “temporary protected status.”

Hochul is now asking mayors for help to help thousands of Venezuelan migrants apply for temporary protected status.

What you need to know

  • According to City Hall’s Asylum Assistance Center, 6,921 asylum applications, 1,803 work permit applications, and 1,779 applications for temporary protected status have been submitted.
  • Venezuelan immigrants who arrived before July 30 are eligible to apply for TPS now through April 25, 2025.
  • Four of the five mayors’ offices will loan their offices to the state and city to assist with TPS applications
  • The White House plans to open a “one-stop shop” for TPS applications in New York

By the end of November, the mayors of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx — with the exception of Republican Vito Fussella of Staten Island — will allow the state’s social workers to set up shop in their buildings, NY1 has learned.

“They’ll have a desk to fill out applications for TPS in our office in Borough Hall. So we’re happy that we’ll be able to contribute in some way, one way or another. Brooklyn Democratic Borough Chairman Antonio Reynoso told NY1 on Friday in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “Governor Hochul made that happen, so I’m really excited about that.”

Venezuelans who came to the United States before July 30 are eligible until April 2025.

Once they apply, in theory, they are transferred before other immigrants waiting for a work permit. They can get the green light within 30 days, bypassing the usual 180-day period.

“Because many of the immigrants who arrive here want to work. And if we give them the legal authority and license to work, they will be part of our tax base, they will pay taxes. They will be part of our communities,” added Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, also a Democrat.

Hochul wants to increase the numbers of applicants. Although the program opened on Oct. 3, more than a month later, only 1,700 in the city and about 700 upstate have submitted their papers.

That’s out of an estimated 15,000 eligible people living in taxpayer-funded shelters.

“As part of Governor Hochul’s $88 million investment in legal and case management services for asylum seekers and immigrants, we are pleased to partner with local leaders to help enroll eligible people in the federal TPS program. Governor Hochul has invested “Nearly $2 billion to support the response to the migrant crisis and will continue to partner closely with the city.”

According to Hochul’s and Mayor Eric Adams’ offices, no one from that group has been granted TPS.

But a Biden administration source said the federal government has been processing and approving applications nationwide since the program opened on October 3. The source also said they are preparing to launch a “one-stop center” for migrants to apply for temporary protected status. Work permit and asylum in the Big Apple in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the crisis is draining New York’s budget.

“Here we are: facing massive budget cuts, we have no idea what to do with these people… Turning mayors into immigration officials is just a ridiculous solution,” said Republican City Councilman Joe Borrelli, who represents parts of Staten. Al Jazeera said.

City Hall expects it will cover $12 billion in housing, food and other costs over the next three years. Hochul wants to stop exorbitant funding, seemingly ill-defined hotel stays, and target legal clinics aimed at getting migrants the tools needed to exit the shelter system.

Although raising taxes is not yet on the table, state leaders are developing alternative plans.

“Obviously we’re looking again to our federal partners, but we’re going to work together to try to do something sensible as we deal with the crisis,” state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, told NY1. “Obviously we found the resources, but again: we all need to find the resources so we can deal with this issue.”

Another concern raised is that even if TPS is granted, obtaining a worker’s permit could take months or years.

A Seattle nonprofit filed a lawsuit last spring against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, arguing that the backlog was putting immigrants’ safety at risk.

(Tags for translation) New York City

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