Immigration

New York group looking to leverage economic potential of new arrivals

BY Jack Arpey New York State

With immigration setting the stage for political battles on the state and national level, one group of leaders is working to figure out how to best handle those who have arrived in New York in a bipartisan, non political way.

Those involved in the Ellis Island Initiative argue that can be done by recognizing their economic potential.

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Schumer calls for an end to 'flagpoling' at northern border

BY Ryan Whalen Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- It can take months for Canada to process visas and work permits when its temporary citizens apply through the traditional method.

However, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said there is a loophole that's causing Western New York ports of entry like the Rainbow Bridge and Peace Bridge to "look like a merry-go-round." He said the practice known as flagpoling, when people enter the U.S. and loop around the flagpoles before submitting paperwork upon reentry, can shorten the processing time to days.

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New York For All Act would limit disclosure of immigration status

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Advocates and some Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would prohibit local law enforcement and other officials from questioning individuals regarding their citizenship or immigration status, as well as sharing information about someone’s immigration status with federal enforcement officials except under certain circumstances.

Murad Awawdeh, president and CEO of the New York Immigration Coalition, told Spectrum News 1 the New York For All Act would help immigrants, regardless of status, who he says are put in an challenging position by the U.S.’s immigration system.

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Rockefeller Institute to host conference on immigrant integration

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The Rockefeller Institute and the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society will hold a conference on immigrant integration efforts in New York state next Wednesday, May 22.

The role that immigration will play in the next presidential election, as well as how New York is handling the influx of migrants, has been covered extensively by the media, but not how migrants are fitting into our communities.

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DocGo will remain upstate temporarily, despite pending end of NYC migrant contract

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Since New York City awarded DocGo a $432 million no-bid emergency contract last year to coordinate housing and services for migrants, the company has drawn significant controversy and scrutiny.

Mayor Eric Adams said the city will not renew the contract, which expires May 5. State Sen. Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, is among DocGo's many critics.

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New York advocates push access to legal representation for migrants

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Some state lawmakers and immigration advocates are rallying for legislation that would guarantee a right to counsel for immigrants in New York state. In particular, it would provide legal counsel for individuals involved in immigration court proceedings including deportation, and ensure that recent arrivals can apply for work authorization "swiftly."

Advocates described it as a “major push” prior to both the state Assembly and Senate voting on their one-house budgets this week.

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Rep. Molinaro discusses the border issue, argues Biden has authority to close it

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

President Joe Biden had urged Congress to pass a bipartisan Senate deal on immigration, saying it would give him new emergency authority to “shut down” the border.

But after Donald Trump called the bill “a gift to the Democrats,” and that the Democrats “want this for the presidential election so they can now blame the Republicans for the worst border in history,” the bill failed to move in Congress.

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Dozens of mayors call on Biden to extend work permits as they grapple with migrant surge

BY Maddie Gannon Washington, D.C.

Dozens of mayors and county officials from across the country are calling on the Biden administration to permanently extend the number of days a work permit remains valid while renewal is pending for certain applicants. It's the latest ask for federal action by local Democratic officials who say their cities are struggling with a surge in migrants.

In an email sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou, the group of 43 local officials asked the administration to increase the automatic extension for Employment Authorization Documents, allowing them to stay valid for 540 days — rather than the current 180 — amid the renewal process.

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Inside the lawsuit alleging DocGo employees, National Guard exploited Western N.Y. asylum seekers

BY Ryan Whalen Cheektowaga

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. -- A federal lawsuit filed in New York's Southern District claims employees including senior staff for DocGo — the New York City contractor handling migrant services there and other parts of the state including Western New York — and New York National Guardsmen exploited and had inappropriate relationships with asylum seeking guests staying at the Comfort Inn Hotel near the Buffalo-Niagara Airport.

Attorney Nate McMurray represents migrants and employee whistleblowers behind the complaint.

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Adams did not ask Hochul directly to go 50/50 on migrant costs

BY Bernadette Hogan Albany

Mayor Eric Adams wants more money from the state to help with the migrant crisis, but he never asked the governor for it directly when he met with her privately Tuesday in Albany.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said that Adams never told her about a new request he made to the Legislature — that the state would pick up at least 50% of the city’s migrant costs.

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Mayor Adams begs Albany for more migrant money

BY Bernadette Hogan Albany

Mayor Eric Adams was first in line to kiss the political rings Tuesday, hammering home New York City’s need for millions of dollars more in state aid to help contain the migrant crisis.

“New Yorkers are already carrying most of the asylum seekers. It is wrong to ask them to do more. It has put the city in a precarious situation. Today we are asking the state to increase its commitment to 50% of our cost," Adams said when testifying before a joint legislative budget hearing in Albany.

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Republicans slam Gov. Hochul over N.Y.'s migrant influx

BY Bernadette Hogan New York City

New York Republicans are focusing on a confrontation with the NYPD outside a migrant shelter last week to unload on Democrats — charging Gov. Kathy Hochul with failing to use tools available to her in New York as Congress debates the passage of President Joe Biden’s border bill.

“The governor made the comment ‘they should be deported.’ If she wants them deported, well, she’s gonna have to do some different things. She’s gonna have to remove Alvin Bragg, which is what she should have done the day after this,” Republican Sen. Minority Leader Robert Ortt of Lockport said during a Conservative Party of New York State retreat at the Albany Hilton Hotel.

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New York migrant influx alters state budget proposal

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

For more than a year, migrants have been bused from the southern border to Democratic-led cities like New York, putting a strain on the social safety net and uprooting migrants who, in some cases, have traveled hundreds or thousands of miles.

Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, joined Capital Tonight on Thursday to discuss the budget and the impact it’ll have on New York’s immigrant community.

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New York Republicans to Hochul: Send National Guard to the borders

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York Republican leaders in the state Legislature are urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to deploy the state's National Guard to Texas and New York's northern border to assist in the flow of migrants coming into the U.S., according to a letter they sent Thursday.

"More than 8 million border encounters have occurred since President Biden took office. In 2023, over 2.5 million migrants entered the country through the southern border. In December alone, 302,034 encounters were reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. On New York’s Northern Border, 91,640 illegal crossings were reported in the past year," the letter states, signed by state Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt and Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay.

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Hochul blasts GOP on migrants: 'Don't be disingenuous'

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday said state Republicans continue to perpetuate chaos with inaction as thousands of migrants come to New York seeking refuge, and demanded they urge their colleagues in the state's congressional delegation to back a bipartisan deal on immigration and border restrictions if they want to see the humanitarian crisis resolved.

Senate Republicans in Albany proposed a legislative package to counter Hochul's education proposals in her executive budget that would change the amount of school Foundation Aid for districts with declining enrollment. The governor has proposed to end the "Hold Harmless" provision that ensures schools receive the same amount of aid as the year before.

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Immigration advocate: 'The tide is turning a little bit' on benefits to New York

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

While crime was among the animating issues of the 2022 election cycle in New York, it’s looking more and more likely that immigration will be front and center during the upcoming 2024 cycle.

Because of that dynamic, there is a new effort among a coalition of groups, including unions, faith groups and the business community, to spotlight the benefits that immigrants bring to New York state.

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Examining if the migrant debate impacted local elections

BY Ryan Whalen Cheektowaga

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. -- Throughout the Erie County executive race, Republicans focused on incumbent Democrat Mark Poloncarz's decision to initially welcome more than 500 asylum seekers from New York City to the region.

Claiming victory with a roughly 18-point lead over challenger Chrissy Casilio Tuesday night, Poloncarz framed the win as an affirmation of Democratic values and rebuke of divisive politics.

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Gov. Hochul considers cutting back 'unsustainable' migrant crisis spending: report

BY Bernadette Hogan New York City
UPDATED 11:00 PM ET Oct. 30, 2023

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration is considering cutting back on how much the state will spend on the migrant crisis going forward, arguing the “unsustainable” situation could negatively impact other areas of the state budget.

New York City’s struggle to house, feed and offer other services like legal assistance ranks at the top of the state’s “most pressing” burdens, according to an Oct. 28 memo penned by Hochul’s Division of the Budget Director Blake Washington.

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Advocates denounce city's idea to give migrants tents to sleep in

BY Kelly Mena New York City

On the heels of news that Mayor Eric Adams is looking to possibly house migrants outside, dozens of New Yorkers and advocates protested outside of his Fort Lee, New Jersey co-op that he owns with his longtime partner.

“When immigrant rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back! When housing rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back!” advocates chanted outside the building where Adams owns a co-op.

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Hochul once again extends state of emergency over migrant situation

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul once again extended an executive order that declares a state of emergency in response to the arrival of migrants, her office said Monday.

According to the governor, the order will give the state more flexibility to procure the resources for local municipalities to support asylum seekers and provide humanitarian aid. It also continues to allow New York state to mobilize members of the National Guard, which currently provide logistical and operational support at shelter sites.

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Hochul: 18,000 New York jobs available that migrants can apply for

BY Luke Parsnow New York State
UPDATED 1:53 PM ET Oct. 05, 2023

New York state has identified 18,000 job openings involving 400 employers who are willing to hire migrants and asylum seekers who have reached legal work status in the U.S., Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Monday.

Hochul has been imploring state business leaders over the last few weeks about securing employment for asylum seekers, which she has said repeatedly will solve two solutions at once: addressing the humanitarian crisis with the migrant influx in the state that has filled shelters while also addressing businesses' labor shortages.

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New York Assembly Member Bichotte Hermelyn discusses influx of migrants

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

More than 100,000 migrants have made their way to New York City as states like Texas continue to transport them from the southern border.

As the city, state and federal governments deal with the influx, New York state Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, who also serves as the Brooklyn Democratic Party chair, is calling for an “equitable response” to the influx.

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Oneida County bans expanded NYC homeless rental vouchers without authorization

BY Luke Parsnow Oneida County

Oneida County has issued an emergency order that bars the acceptance of newly-expanded New York City rental housing vouchers without the authorization of County Executive Anthony Picente, his office announced Thursday.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced earlier this week that city-funded housing vouchers for homeless New Yorkers could be used outside the five boroughs. It's part of efforts to ease the homeless population in city shelters as officials are scrambling to make way for more asylum seekers.

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Administration says migrant costs to Erie County are minimal

BY Ryan Whalen Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Department heads and representatives from migrant service organizations told Erie County legislators at a Thursday meeting the county has incurred nearly no extra costs since downstate migrants began arriving in early June.

They said the company DocGo, contracted and paid for by New York City, continues to handle all expenses connected to housing and providing things like food and clothing for the population staying in local hotels.

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Hochul continues calls for House GOP to address migrant issue while special Albany session remains an option

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul continued her calls to Congress Wednesday to tackle immigration that addresses the migrant influx New York currently faces, taking direct aim at Republicans in the House of Representatives who have recently called on her to call a special legislative session in Albany to handle the crisis on the state level.

“Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy, other than wasting his time pursing idiotic ideas like impeaching the president based on nothing, ought to bring back the Republicans, of which there are nine from the state of New York, who should be feeling this and hearing about this, instead of calling on us to do something,” Hochul said at a briefing in New York City. “Immigration is a federal problem. It calls for a federal solution. President Biden has bills out there, ideas out there on how we can work together with Republicans, and they won’t get back to work and deal with this.”

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New York bill would prevent transfer of migrants to communities without their consent

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Two New York state lawmakers on Thursday announced new legislation that aims to prevent one municipality such as New York City from transferring migrants to upstate communities without notification and getting their permission to ensure these municipalities are willing and able to host them.

Drafted by Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco and Democratic Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon, the “Migrant Home Rule Transfer Transparency Act” would give a 30-day requirement for a municipality like New York City to alert another of their intention to transfer migrants. If the receiving municipality does not pass a resolution to accept them, they would have to go elsewhere.

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New York Assembly Minority Leader Barclay urges Legislature to address migrant influx

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York Assembly and Senate Republicans are calling for an extraordinary session of the legislature to address issues around the influx of migrants to the state. The conferences have sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul urging her to “address the issue head on."

“I think one thing we can agree on in a bipartisan manner is this is a crisis. We’ve had 100,000 migrants come to this state,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay told Capital Tonight. “Clearly, this influx of people is taxing social services, is taxing law enforcement. It’s taxing our citizens and our communities.”

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NYC comptroller declines to approve $432M DocGo contract to aid migrants

BY Dan Rivoli and Spectrum News Staff New York City
UPDATED 6:11 PM ET Sep. 06, 2023

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander declined to approve a $432 million emergency contract with DocGo, a medical services provider the city had tapped to care for asylum seekers.

In a statement Wednesday morning, Lander said he returned the no-bid contract to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

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Gillibrand discusses ideas to address migrants and immigration reform

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said hundreds of thousands of migrants showing up at the U.S. border is both dangerous and unmanageable.

"We need to have commonsense bipartisan solutions to fix the problem because there is a place for legal immigration and there is a place for us to take care of people seeking asylum and refuge," she said.

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Westchester County executive calls for expediated federal action on migrants

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

Last week, the Hochul administration called out the federal government to get more assistance for the influx of migrants that have come to New York from other states like Texas. This week, the Biden administration, through Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, responded by sending a letter to Gov. Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams and called out structural and operational faults in New York City’s response.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer, a Democrat, told Capital Tonight that he believes the “criticism of New York by the federal government is misplaced,” and adds that Mayorkas’ response did not “really address the major needs.”

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Judge may consider eviction of migrants in Cheektowaga

BY Ryan Whalen Cheektowaga

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A temporary restraining order granted Friday will remain in effect barring any additional placement of asylum seekers at three hotels in the town of Cheektowaga.

Attorneys representing the town and the hotels conferenced in state Supreme Court Monday to discuss Cheektowaga's motion for a more permanent preliminary injunction. The parties had been in talks over the weekend to settle outside the courtroom.

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DHS to meet with New York to discuss recommendations on handling migrant situation

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security responded to Gov. Kathy Hochul's repeated requests for more support to address the ongoing migrant influx in New York.

According to a letter dated Sunday to the governor from Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas, federal officials said they observed and met with New York City leadership on the issue and have come up with around two dozen recommendations to improve the handling of migrants.

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Hochul asks Biden for more support in addressing influx of migrants in NY

BY Estefania Hernandez New York City
UPDATED 5:48 PM ET Aug. 24, 2023

Gov. Kathy Hochul is calling on President Joe Biden and the federal government to offer more support to New York as the state works to address an influx of migrants.

At a news conference Thursday, Hochul discussed a letter that calls on the federal government to “take executive action and direct significant financial assistance” to support the state.

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Hochul focuses on migrant work authorizations in upstate

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

TONAWANDA, N.Y. -- Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday she is allocating $36 million to support migrant case management programs in upstate New York.

"I am grateful to counties like Erie and Monroe and Albany County and many others that have stepped up to help welcome these individuals, let them be part of the community and the second they can work, they are now contributing," she said.

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Creedmoor migrant shelter nears capacity amid community pushback

BY Louis Finley Queens

Gina Quinn and Yolanda Adrezzone have both lived in Bellerose, Queens for more than 20 years. They say they are unhappy about their new neighbors, the 800 single migrant men who have moved into city-run tents outside the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.

"This is a residential area. That doesn't belong here. Put it somewhere else, Mayor Adams," Quinn said. "I'm hoping that George Santos can help us."

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Migrants displaced from SUNY Buffalo State have other housing

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With Jericho Road Community Health Center's Vive shelter at capacity for months, SUNY Buffalo State University said it agreed to allow several dozen asylum-seeker clients to stay in campus dorms from May to early August.

However, New York state Assemblymember Jon Rivera said Jericho Road expected that term to last until the end of the month and was in conversations to extend it through February. Instead, he said they were given a week's notice to be out by Aug. 21.

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Contractor caring for migrants under probe, New York AG office says

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State

New York Attorney General Letitia James is looking into accusations that medical services provider DocGo mishandled migrants in their care, a spokesperson for her office said Monday.

The provider is being accused of giving inaccurate information to migrants about employment opportunities, as well as allegedly making threats and hurting their ability to obtain asylum. This includes allegedly enrolling migrants in a health care plan that they were not eligible for.

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N.Y. gets proposed lease to use Floyd Bennett Field for migrant center

BY Patrick Adcroft Brooklyn

New York state has received a tentative contract from the Biden administration that will allow officials to open a migrant relief center at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.

For months, the state has sought permission to use the federally owned former airfield along the shores of Jamaica Bay as a site for a migrant shelter, Hochul told reporters after an unrelated news conference in the Bronx.

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Hochul: $20M going to NYC for casework surge for asylum seekers

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State

More money is going to New York City to help with the influx of asylum seekers.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday that a $20 million investment will help speed the casework filing process as asylum seekers look to exit shelters and seek legal work status.

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National Guard members arrive in Erie County to assist with migrant services

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In response to two separate alleged incidents of sexual assault committed by a migrant, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz insisted over the weekend Mayor Eric Adams stop sending people from New York City.

On Thursday, Poloncarz reiterated the county is not permanently done with the relocation program.

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Albany County Executive Dan McCoy on migrants, the National Guard and DocGo

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

In response to two alleged sexual assaults in Erie County involving the migrant community, as well as a request from Monroe County for increased security to deal with the influx of migrants, Gov. Kathy Hochul has called up the National Guard.

Both county executives Mark Polancarz, of Erie, and Adam Bello, of Monroe, are Democrats.

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Could New York's migrant debate factor into this year's elections?

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- How to deal with the surging migrant population has been a hot debate topic across the country and particularly in New York, with tens of thousands of people coming to New York City over the last year, and some beginning to relocate to upstate cities this summer.

"We've seen some polling with at least some voters that this is one of their top issues, one of their top concerns and when that merges with another top concern, which is crime, it can have a huge political fallout," Democratic political analyst Jack O'Donnell said.

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Jericho Road founder urges WNY not to rush judgment on migrants

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jericho Road has been providing case management support and health care services since migrants began arriving in Erie County.

CEO and founder Dr. Myron Glick said while the young staffer allegedly sexually assaulted by an asylum seeker was not his employee, everybody is upset about the situation.

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Hochul: Feds remain silent on migrant work permit request

BY Kate Lisa New York State

The federal government continues to provide few answers to Gov. Kathy Hochul and state officials pleading for expedited workforce authorization for thousands of people from the Southern border in search of a better life.

The ongoing migrant issue took center stage at an event in Albany on Thursday where the governor detailed plans to upgrade the Albany International Airport as part of nine state-funded projects to modernize regional airport facilities.

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The partisan divide between the short-term and long-term view of migrants in New York

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The road to control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2024 elections will almost certainly lead through New York. So the how the state deals with newly arrived migrants will likely be a hot-button political issue over the next year and a half.

Like Gov. Kathy Hochul, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin told Capital Tonight on Tuesday he would lobby the federal government for further resources, but that’s where his policies toward migrants would diverge from the governor’s.

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New York Business Council calls for changes to asylum seeker employment wait requirements

BY Nick Reisman and Tim Williams New York State

Earlier this week, the New York Business Council sent a letter to the state's congressional delegation calling for their support for legislation that would reduce the wait time of 180 days that asylum seekers must wait before they become eligible to work in the United States. Heather Mulligan, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, told Capital Tonight that the immigration system is a “mess,” but changes to the waiting period for asylum seekers is an “opportunity” for asylum seekers and employers.

According to statistics from the state Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in the state was at 3.8%, which is slightly higher than the nationwide rate of 3.4%. The strong labor market has led to a worker shortage. Mulligan says, “we have record low employment and we have a labor market that’s struggling to find people. At the same time, we have folks seeking asylum who are sometimes being bused here by other states who are actually looking for work and they want to work.”

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Migrants at WNY SUNY schools not in plans this summer

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Over the last few days, asylum seekers from multiple countries arrived in Western New York on two buses from New York City.

State Sen. Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, said, while New York City is contracted with a local hotel and nonprofit Jericho Road to pay for housing and integration services, the state and Erie County governments have also been working in partnership.

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Rockland County issues revised order meant to bar migrants

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced Wednesday a revised order meant to bar New York City from transporting migrants to stay within the county.

The new order comes after a federal judge on June 6 determined Rockland and Orange counties' initial emergency orders meant to block New York City from contracting with motels and hotels for migrant housing were unconstitutional.

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Hochul to Biden administration: 'We need help' for migrant influx

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul's message to Biden administration officials was a straightforward one as New York continues to grapple with an influx of migrants.

With President Joe Biden on a speaker phone, White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and senior administration officials present, Hochul asked directly for help.

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Lawmakers weigh health care for New Yorkers without legal status

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Migrants with asylum seeker status and undocumented New Yorkers could be in line for health care coverage after New York was granted approval to do so by the federal government this week.

But lawmakers will still have to pass legislation to do so in the next several days before the legislative session concludes in Albany.

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NYC sues 30 New York counties over migrant policies

BY Dennis Yusko and John Camera New York State
UPDATED 6:15 PM ET Jun. 07, 2023

New York City sued more than 30 municipalities and local leaders mostly in upstate New York on Wednesday, alleging they "have sought to wall off their borders" through emergency orders that obstruct the city's efforts to relocate migrants upstate "in a manner that is explicitly permitted by law and required by a statewide emergency."

Filed Wednesday, the suit asks the state Supreme Court to invalidate the emergency orders filed by the counties under the grounds that they are unconstitutional. It also asks to prohibit the locales from taking steps that "restrict or frustrate" New York City's efforts to address a statewide emergency, which Gov. Kathy Hochul declared on May 9.

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NYC to receive $100M from FEMA to help with asylum seekers

BY Kevin Frey New York City

New York City is poised to receive more than $100 million in new federal funding to help manage the surge of migrants, Spectrum News has learned.

The Biden administration will provide the city $104.6 million in grant funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Shelter Services Program, according to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Sen. Chuck Schumer, both New York Democrats.

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Asylum-seekers on why they fled their homes, what they want

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Asylum-seekers have many reasons to leave their home countries. Many of them are fleeing violence so fierce that staying in their home countries could mean death. But arriving in the U.S. is the beginning of another kind of journey – one that will mean navigating a complicated and underfunded U.S. immigration system. And as soon as they arrive, the clock starts ticking.

Susan Arbetter spoke with several migrants about their experiences, as well as Ivy Hest, the co-executive director of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, one of the organizations assisting migrants who have been bussed to Albany from New York City.

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SUNY chancellor says public higher education system ready to aid migrants

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York's public higher education system is prepared to assist with the ongoing migrant situation as campuses are being considered as temporary housing sites, State University of New York Chancellor John King told reporters on Wednesday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is yet to announce which campuses will be used for housing migrants, considered a temporary solution given dormitories will be back in use by students starting in August.

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State lawmakers at odds over New York's migrant policies

BY Nick Reisman New York State

How New York should respond to the thousands of migrants coming to the state is highlighting the political divide seen nationally over the issue.

For Democrats, lawmakers this week backed Gov. Kathy Hochul's push to allow migrants who are seeking asylum in the U.S. the opportunity to work on a more expedited basis. Republicans, meanwhile, are criticizing plans to move migrants outside of New York City and, in some cases, potential State University of New York campuses.

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Immigration law professional explains migrant asylum process

BY Spectrum News Staff City of Buffalo

The asylum process on the surface sounds like it should be simple, but it isn’t. And anything complicated can cause a lot of confusion.

With this issue getting a lot of attention in New York right now, Rosanna Berardi, an immigration attorney in the Buffalo area, joins Spectrum News 1 to help sort some things out.

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New York lawmakers back expedited work permits for migrants

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Forty New York state lawmakers on Thursday released a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to back an expedited process to allow migrants with asylum status to work.

The letter echoes calls from congressional lawmakers who represent New York in Washington as well as Gov. Kathy Hochul amid an influx of migrants to New York.

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Top New York Republican wants Hochul to consider alternate sites for housing migrants

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

The top Republican in the New York state Senate on Thursday in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul raised concerns with plans to potentially house migrants north of New York City at State University of New York campuses as well as hotels and motels.

Separately, a group of Democratic lawmakers in a different letter to Hochul called on her to consider as many dormitories at SUNY campuses as possible in addressing the housing issue.

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Erie County expecting migrants from NYC, Poloncarz says

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In a conversation with the commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he learned migrants from New York City will likely come to the region.

Poloncarz is told it will happen no sooner than a week from now and while a final number isn't clear, people will likely be placed in SUNY Buffalo State University housing and possibly at the University at Buffalo.

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Hochul: Decision on expanded migrant housing coming soon

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A decision as to where expanded housing for migrants who have come to New York will ultimately be is expected "very soon," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday.

Hochul once again confirmed SUNY campuses as well as former psychiatric centers are being considered for housing. Hochul has said the state is reviewing virtually every state-owned property as a potential site for housing.

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New York lawmakers make push to expand health coverage to more residents without legal status

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York state officials are taking additional steps this month that could lead to expanding health care coverage for more undocumented residents living in the state.

It's a long-sought move, and one that could come with tapping into unspent federal money through a Medicaid waiver process. And the proposal comes as the heated debate over immigration has taken center stage as more migrants, many seeking asylum status in the U.S., are coming to New York.

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Source: N.Y. to house migrants at dorms on three SUNY campuses

BY Spectrum News Staff New York City
UPDATED 12:20 PM ET May. 23, 2023

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration has identified dorms on three SUNY campuses to use as housing sites for migrants, according to a source.

The source told NY1 the plan includes a total of 1,500 beds at the University at Buffalo, Stony Brook University and the University at Albany.

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Hochul and Adams want federal government to give migrants ability to work

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

The federal government should expedite the process for tens of thousands of migrants living in New York to obtain employment while they are staying in the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams said on Monday.

At the same time, Hochul knocked the "bigoted policies" put in place by local officials who have sought to block migrants from staying in their counties.

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Story of veterans displaced by migrants was fabricated, elected officials now say

BY Susan Arbetter and John Camera Hudson Valley
UPDATED 7:53 AM ET May. 20, 2023

The story of migrants displacing homeless veterans that caused outrage and death threats was manufactured, according to local officials who had a role in amplifying the hoax.

Sharon Toney-Finch, a veterans’ activist in Poughkeepsie, allegedly recruited homeless men last week to pose as veterans who were kicked out of a hotel in order to make room for newly arrived migrants.

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Hochul looking for solutions for migrants

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With more than 71,000 migrants currently in New York and mostly in New York City, Gov. Kathy Hochul says she has been working all week with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the federal government to find housing options.

"We're working closely with them, literally hour by hour, trying to identify places where there are welcoming communities," Hochul said.

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Hochul says migrant housing search focusing on 'welcoming communities'

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

New York officials are continuing a search for state-owned sites to provide housing for migrants, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday said, as more county governments this week put emergency orders in place meant to bar them from staying in hotels and motels.

Hochul, in Buffalo for an event to tout the minimum wage increase in the newly adopted $229 billion state budget, told reporters that New York City continues to struggle with finding available housing for migrants.

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WNY has experience placing migrants on SUNY campuses

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With the expiration of Title 42, a COVID-19 pandemic order that made it easier to turn away migrants, New York state has seen an influx of immigrants without legal status entering the state.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is discussing potentially housing those people on SUNY campuses.

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Hochul wants expedited work approval for migrants

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Migrants entering New York should have expedited approval to gain employment while living in the state, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday said as the issue continues to roil all levels of government.

County leaders, meanwhile, urged state and federal officials to provide more resources as New York City Mayor Eric Adams continues to send more migrants north of the city to suburban communities.

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Report: Immigrants struggle to receive organ transplants

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A report released by New York advocacy organizations on Friday highlighted the difficulties immigrants in the state face in receiving organ transplants that can save their lives, but can be hindered because of their immigration status.

The report comes as advocates and Democratic lawmakers have sought the approval of a measure to extend health care access from the Essential Plan to cover more adult undocumented immigrants living in the state.

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Analysis: Biden’s missed opportunity visiting Hudson Valley suburbs

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

President Joe Biden missed an opportunity to begin messaging about the migrant crisis.

He spent part of the day Wednesday in the suburbs of the Hudson Valley, arguably the most important congressional battleground of 2024. He spoke in Valhalla, at Westchester County Community College, about the possible ramifications of the U.S. defaulting on its debt. No doubt a critical issue, but nowhere as immediate, as visible, or as dramatic as the sight of hundreds of migrants being bussed to two suburban towns that don’t want them.

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Local governments clash with New York over migrant policy

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

The ongoing migrant crisis in New York is expanding outside of the five boroughs of New York City, prompting a heated clash between Republican county executives, the Democratic mayor of New York City and the Democratic governor of the state.

Local officials have decried Mayor Eric Adams' plan to move hundreds of migrants on a voluntary basis to Orange and Rockland counties — a move made as a federal immigration order meant to curb migration is lapsing.

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Rockland County officials decry Adams’ migrant plan: ‘We will not stop fighting you’

BY Patrick Adcroft and Spectrum News Staff New York City

A day after a Rockland County judge temporarily barred an area hotel from housing migrants being sent from New York City, local officials from the county once again decried Mayor Eric Adams’ plan.

“I urge you in the strongest possible terms: stop,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said at a news conference Wednesday morning. “Stop what you are doing, because we will not stop fighting you.”

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Hochul questions constitutionality of county migrant orders

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

New York state is working to find more sites for housing migrants ahead of an expected influx of people seeking asylum in the coming days and as a growing number of county officials have issued states of emergency to bar hotels from accepting migrants.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday in New York City, Hochul questioned whether the executive orders issued by Rockland and Orange county executives were constitutional, adding an analysis was ongoing by state officials. Two more county executives — Oneida's Anthony Picente and Steve McLaughlin in Rensselaer County — have released similar emergency orders.

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Hochul issues executive order to address expected rise in migrants as Title 42 expires

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York state will have more flexibility to obtain and procure resources for local governments to handle the expected influx of migrants seeking asylum with the expiration of the Title 42 immigration policy this week under an order issued Tuesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The order comes as New York City Mayor Eric Adams has moved to create a voluntary program to move 300 single, male migrants to Rockland and Orange counties over objections by local officials, who have declared states of emergency.

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Advocate for immigrants breaks down New York's budget

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

The $229 billion state budget finalized last week could have done more to address the needs of immigrants living in the state, according to New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Murad Awawdeh.

The budget did not provide enough of a boost in legal assistance for immigrant communities, while a proposal to allow undocumented adults living in New York the ability to access the Essential Plan for health insurance faltered in the final days of the negotiations.

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Buffalo says it needs money to take on migrants from NYC

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With conflicts and instability in countries all around the world right now, refugee and immigrant resettlement agencies in Buffalo are already busy.

Jennifer Rizzo-Choi is the executive director of the International Institute, one of five organizations in the region that comprise the Refugee Partnership.

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Hochul urged to approve regulations for immigration bond industry

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Advocates are urging Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday to approve new regulations for the immigration bond industry and lay down new oversight rules.

The bill sitting on Hochul's desk addresses the for-profit bond industry for immigration, a system that can draw in tens of thousands of immigrants across the country. In New York, hundreds of immigrant residents can be detained at 76 different locations.

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New York seeks to expand legal services for newly arrived immigrants

BY Nick Reisman Albany

New York state officials are offering new legal services to immigrants who arrived in New York City over the last year, with $3 million planned for the next three years for the New York State Office for New Americans.

Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on Wednesday announced the funding amid the ongoing arrival of migrants and asylum seekers in New York City, many of whom face ongoing immigration and legal status questions.

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New York launches effort to aid immigrant transition

BY Nick Reisman Albany

New York officials on Friday launched an effort to help immigrants transition to life in the United States with help for furthering their education and joining the workforce.

The New York State Institute for Immigrant Integration Research & Policy will be housed within the Rockefeller Institute of Government, a think tank for the State University of New York.

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'Undocumented immigrant' doesn’t mean 'illegal'

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Two planeloads of about 50 migrants landed on Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon. It was the latest in an ongoing effort by red state Govs. Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis to “better facilitate the care of these individuals” who states like Massachusetts, New York and California, “have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration”, according to a statement sent to NPR by a DeSantis spokesperson.

Over the last few weeks, thousands of migrants have been bussed to New York City and Washington D.C. from U.S. southern border locations, leading the mayors of both cities to seek federal assistance.

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How New York state could help asylum seekers from the southern border in NYC

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

For the past two months, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered asylum seekers and other immigrants who have crossed the border into the U.S. to be bussed to more liberal states like New York, which are struggling to find the capacity to house them.

According to Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), the asylum seekers arriving in New York City have sometimes walked thousands of miles to the southern border to find safety and economic opportunity.

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Hochul: Federal solution needed for immigration system

BY Nick Reisman Albany

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul sought to de-escalate a simmering dispute on Thursday with Texas as Gov. Greg Abbott has sent migrants and asylum seekers from the southern U.S. border to New York City.

Republicans, including Abbott and Hochul's general election challenger U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, have pointed to New York's laws that they say entice undocumented immigrants, including giving them access to driver's licenses.

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Adams asks for federal help as thousands of asylum seekers enter shelter system

BY Estefania Hernandez New York City

NEW YORK—Mayor Eric Adams said on Thursday that the city’s homeless shelter system has experienced a “surge” in recent months of more than 3,000 asylum seekers looking for refuge in shelters that already house more than 48,000 individuals.

Adams said he has been working with the federal government since Tuesday to provide comprehensive support and resources to these families.

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Federal lawsuit puts DACA recipients in legal jeopardy

BY Tim Williams New York State

A federal appeals court heard arguments this week on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, which provides protection from deportation for immigrants who came to the country as children.

Pamela Chomba, director of State Immigration Campaigns at FWD.us, told Capital Tonight the program has protected thousands of “dreamers” from getting deported and provided them with economic security and a place in the community.

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New York immigrants drive calls for greater deportation protections

BY Kate Lisa New York State

The fervent pounding of drums and pleading from immigrant New Yorkers rang outside the state Capitol with growing demands for legislators to increase protections against deportation before session ends next week.

The New York for All Act would limit state and local law enforcement from using resources to aid U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents disclosing a person's citizenship or immigration status to U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement in efforts to curb deportation. The bill would prohibit state or local law enforcement, peace officers, school resource officers, state agencies, state employees and probation agencies from disclosing a person's immigration status, nationality, country of origin or corresponding release or court dates as part of ICE investigations, interrogations and inquiries.

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Immigration advocates eye additional revenue for excluded workers

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Advocates for undocumented immigrants living in New York on Friday urged state officials to use the additional revenue in the state's tax collections to replenish a fund meant to aid workers who did not receive federal pandemic relief and unemployment aid.

The push comes in the final days of the legislative session and after state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul agreed to a state budget that did not include new funding for the program, known as the excluded workers fund. The money was meant to benefit workers who were not eligible for federal pandemic payments, which included undocumented workers.

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