(NEW YORK) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams, union officials and other city leaders rallied in Manhattan Thursday to call on the federal government to speed up work authorization permits for the thousands of migrants who have been relocated to the city.
Adams said over 100,000 migrants have been transported to the city in recent months and have been seeking help from all levels of government. The mayor said the one thing that many migrants are looking for is jobs.
“They ask one question, ‘Can we work?'” Adams said. “Can we provide for our families?”
Adams contended that there are “thousands” of jobs in the city that are waiting to be filled and if the recent influx of adult migrants were given the go-ahead from the federal government, they would be able to fill those spots easily.
New York City Council’s leadership also released a statement Thursday calling on the federal government to expedite migrant work permits.
“As an increasing number of people seeking asylum in the United States arrive in our city, it is critical that they be permitted to work legally to support themselves, their families, and our city,” the council’s leadership said in a statement. “People seeking asylum can contribute immensely to our economy, and it is imperative that we facilitate this outcome.”
Adams criticized opponents who have been protesting migrant shelters and the influx of migrants from the border. Six people were arrested during a protest on the issue at Gracie Mansion earlier in the week.
The mayor said New York has always welcomed immigrants throughout its history.
“Go into your lineage go see when your parents or grandparents came here,” he said to the people opposing the migrants. “Imagine people saying to them ‘There is no place for you here.’ That is wrong and that is not who we are as a city or as a country.”
Adams’ event came a day after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul met with Biden administration members about the issue.
The Biden administration said officials and the governor agreed on several actions.
The administration said it will work with both the state and city in September “on a month of action to help close the gap” between noncitizens who are already eligible to work and haven’t applied for open positions.
The Biden administration said roughly 20% of the noncitizens who indicated New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania as their intended destination to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol are eligible to work.
The administration also said that it would provide resources from several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services and Education, to help the state’s migrant population with any issues such as healthcare and education.
Hochul said in a statement that these actions were a “crucial first step,” but reiterated that more needed to be done on the federal level including more work permits.
“That is why in the days ahead I will continue working to secure expedited work authorization for even more individuals, expanded financial support for New York, and long-overdue immigration reforms,” she said in a statement Thursday.