A special legislative session to address the migrant surge isn't out of the cards, as Gov. Kathy Hochul wouldn't rule out the possibility Thursday after a round of public events in Albany.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams this week said roughly 10,000 people seeking asylum come to the state each month.
"Certainly, I'm entertaining all our options right now," the governor told reporters Thursday.
Hochul added she and her counsel are working to discover a legal pathway to allow more than 60,000 migrants in the state to go to work and fill nearly 460,000 jobs open statewide amid federal inaction. That includes roughly 5,000 open positions on farms across the state.
"I'm trying with my attorneys literally every day to find a path where I as the governor of the state of New York can find a mechanism until such time as the federal government changes the rule," Hochul said. "What can the state of New York do within the onfines of the law or right up to the edge, to say I have two crises: One is a humanitarian crisis of thousands of migrants coming to our state. I also have a workforce shortage crisis."
The governor spoke with White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients about federal assistance to New York on Thursday afternoon. Hochul has said she has daily phone calls with members of President Joe Biden's administration about the influx.
Hochul also has regular contact with Adams, but reiterated the onus is on the federal government to help the state with substantive assistance.
She also focused pressure on the state's congressional delegation to take action and secure assistance, arguing Congress must address the humanitarian emergency.
The governor particularly called on Republicans in the House majority to influence Speaker Kevin McCarthy to pass immigration reform and funding for affected states.
"They have the power to do that," she said. "They're the ones shutting it down, so they don't come in this with clean hands. They should get back to session and do their jobs as well."
State Republican lawmakers have been calling on the governor to call the Legislature back to Albany for weeks to address issues around the state's migrant surge.
Republican officials have also blasted the state's sanctuary policies toward undocumented immigrants, arguing it's the main catalyst for the influx.
But Hochul on Thursday disagreed, arguing New York isn't the only U.S. state with the rule. Eleven U.S. states have sanctuary policies regarding asylum seekers.
The issue, the governor added, rests with New York City's 1981 right-to-shelter law born from litigation that led to an agreement that the city would provide shelter to anyone who requests it. A legal battle over the law's implementation continues to move through the courts.
"I don't think in a million years it was anticipated to be an unlimited, universal right to have shelter provided to the entire world at cost to taxpayers with no end in sight," Hochul said. "So there needs to be a conversation now about what that looks like."
The governor said the ongoing debate about how to house and help asylum seekers cannot be a political one.
"It is a challenge for all of us, but we have to focus not on the politics of this, but focus on doing what's right," Hochul said. "And the answer falls with Washington with resources, change in workforce authorization, helping us with housing vouchers, helping us with more money for education, helping improve health care — all the issues that were on my agenda when I went to the White House last week."