Federal officials tell New York City to improve handling of migrant crisis, raise questions about local response

The Biden administration this week urged New York to provide immigrants with better information about the immigration process and expedite their departure from city shelters.

Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Erin Heiter said the team was recommended by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorgas to investigate New York City’s more than 200 hotel chains and other temporary shelters that currently house 60,000 immigrants.

DHS’s recommendations represent the Biden administration’s most significant response to increasingly vocal pleas from New York leaders. Mayor Eric AdamsThe city’s effort to get more federal support for its immigrant housing initiative has sparked some local backlash and created divisions among city, state and federal Democrats.

The DHS panel came up with four key recommendations, according to department officials, including a call for New York to improve information about immigrants and renewed efforts to provide information to immigrants applying for work permits and leaving the local shelter system. DHS also recommended that the city provide attorneys and case managers for immigrants throughout the shelter, with the goal of helping them exit the shelter system more quickly.

Finally, the DHS panel called on federal officials to provide immigrant communities with more information about applying for asylum and work authorization.

In a statement to CBS News, DHS spokeswoman Heiter said she “continues to be impressed by the exceptional efforts of New York officials to accept large numbers of immigrants.”

“DHS continues to collaborate with city and state officials, as well as our federal partners, to identify ways to maximize the value of our continued partnership to humanely and orderly address the needs of immigrants arriving in New York,” Heeter added.

The recommendations, first reported by Politico, are intensifying local calls led by Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who have called for the Biden administration to allow immigrants to quickly apply for work permits by granting them temporary legal status.

Local officials and lawyers say that if immigrants receive parole or temporary protected status — short-term immigration classifications — they can apply for a work permit without claiming asylum and must wait 6 months to qualify for work authorization, which only Congress requires. can change.

But Biden administration officials have resisted the calls because of concerns about prosecution by Republican-led states and encouraging more immigrants to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, CBS News reported. reported Earlier this month.

FILE: Asylum seekers camp outside the hotel as the Manhattan Relief Center is at full capacity, evacuees wait outside the Roosevelt Hotel to be accommodated inside the shelter, on August 2, 2023 in New York.

Fatih Aktas/Anatolu Agency via Getty Images

DHS officials said Tuesday that the administration has identified 11 federal sites in New York that could be used to house immigrants. John F. to house 800 immigrants. They noted that the administration has allowed New York to use a federal hangar at Kennedy Airport and is negotiating to allow local authorities. Replace Floyd Bennett Airport A temporary shelter in Brooklyn.

Kayla Mamelak, a spokeswoman for the New York mayor’s office, said local officials are “grateful that our federal partners are now engaged in a collaborative process.” But he said the city’s claims remain “unresolved.”

“We continue to call on the Biden administration to lead the implementation of the border decompression strategy, expedite the process of granting authorizations for asylum seekers, declare a state of emergency, and quickly allocate federal funds to address our pressing challenges. More funding must be provided to match the reality of the curriculum on the ground,” Mameluk said.

New York is not the only city struggling to accommodate immigrants. In the past year, other major cities such as Boston, Chicago and Denver have found their resources strained by the influx of tens of thousands of migrants released by federal border officials. The visit has tested the commitment of Democratic-led cities as sanctuary cities for immigrants, exposed deep political divisions on immigration and drawn criticism from local Democrats in the Biden administration.

The cities’ woes stem from a complex set of factors, with millions of immigrants arriving at the US southern border in the past two years, more than 2 million of whom have been allowed to stay in the country. Fallback system. Texas’ Democratic-led efforts to bus migrants to cities and a lack of affordable housing have contributed to the crisis.

The Biden administration has said it responded to the development of the citations Concerns and challenges With more than $700 million in federal funding this fiscal year, including $140 million for New York, local officials and groups can help and shelter immigrants.

Earlier this year, the administration created programs that would allow some immigrants to apply for work permits immediately after entering the United States. Those already in the country without legal status.

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