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. 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials started to assess the situation in New York City this week as hundreds of incoming people are forced to sleep on the street amid a lack of shelter. Homeland Security has met with members of the governor's staff, but there's continued silence from the White House on an official plan or answer about Hochul's 13-month request for the federal government to issue working permits for asylum seekers.

"This is a, I'm not exaggerating, a daily conversation between me and the White House for months," Hochul told reporters Thursday. "They know the sense of urgency. ...Immigration is phenomenally complicated."

She later added: "I cannot tell you how many times I've requested that we get a change in work authorization... more parolees, or temporary protective status."

New York City has submitted receipts to be reimbursed for $138 million of $1 billion allocated in the 2023-24 budget to house migrants — most of whom come from Venezuela. Hochul said the state has made $250 million immediately accessible to assist the city.

"There's money there still for this year," she said. "We're using it already and out-of-pocket directly from us is our own expenses, which is paying for massive sites. Our focus has been on large-scale [housing] sites."

The state is set to spend about $20 million this year committing more than 1,700 members of the National Guard to help with migrant needs. Hochul has started conversations with legislative leaders about the need to include additional funding to assist asylum seekers in the next state spending plan, which state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warns will be centered in a tougher fiscal position in the coming months.

Mayor Eric Adams this week said the migrant crisis is expected to cost the city $12 billion in the next two years. 

"But we're going to be helping the mayor, without a doubt, and that's why the conversations are starting now about what we're going to need next year as well," Hochul said.

More asylum seekers are expected to arrive in the state, but it's unclear how many people, or when. Hochul hopes additional shelters and expedited work permits would reduce the cost of housing the newcomers.

Hochul brushed off questions about reports state Attorney General Letitia James will no longer represent the state in a legal case against the city's long-standing right-to-shelter decree, which puts the city on the legal and financial hook for asylum seekers. 

"We've been working closely on many cases," the governor said. "It's not uncommon for outside counsel to be brought in. This is going to come down toa very sophisticated constitutional question."

Mayor Adams has attempted to tweak the decree this year.

Employers of migrants without proper workforce authorization continue to fall under federal sanctions in place for decades — complicating matters for state leaders. The state Farm Bureau also came out in favor this week of Hochul's push for federal approval to employ asylum seekers.

"I want to turn this dynamic around," Hochul said. "I'm doing everything I can to persuade everyone in Washington, including Congress, Republicans in the House, and our senators, that this is an urgent need for New York. ...It's a very different dynamic than it was 34 years ago when this was a hot, hot issue. The world has changed dramatically. People need workers. They provide this source of work and they can have a chance to take care of themselves and be independent of needing state or government assistance or city assistance."

State officials on both sides of the political aisle have increased their pressure on the federal government to immediately act, and give the state more funding and resources to properly care for arriving asylum seekers.

While visiting Western New York on Thursday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the state continues to rely on federal guidance and assistance in housing migrants, but expects the state to take additional action in the future.

"The state writes little checks, the federal government writes big checks and we really need the federal government to write a big check to help us out," Heastie said.