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.
An influx of people entering New York is expected in the coming days and weeks after the expiration of a pandemic-era immigration order. The Biden administration has also announced measures meant to crack down on illegal crossings at the southern border.
But the change has coincided with Mayor Eric Adams announcing a plan to move migrants to communities north of New York City, a move opposed by many county leaders.
"More help is needed, so we're working closely with them, literally hour by hour, trying to identify places where there are welcoming communities," Hochul said.
Hochul has met with officials in Washington this week as she seeks federal aid and support that has been used for federally declared disasters. The governor has also held conference calls with county leaders and met with Adams about the situation.
State officials are considering a range of potential sites for migrant housing, including SUNY campuses. Hochul on Friday said no decisions have been made.
At the same time, she wants an expedited process for migrants to gain work status in the U.S. so they can work at places like farms.
"I think when we get to that point, it will change peoples' attitudes about it rather dramatically," she said.
The migrant crisis in New York has led to an outcry and legal challenges by municipalities. An advocate's claim that an Orange County hotel displaced veterans ahead of the expectation that migrants would be housed there was found this week to be made up, according to reports in the Mid Hudson News and Albany Times Union.
Hochul called the episode "deeply troubling."
"If people want to fabricate stories to undermine the whole process, I think it's reprehensible," she said.