It’s been over a month since Gov. Kathy Hochul cheered the fruits of her labor–personally lobbying the White House for months to lift restrictions faced by migrants who want to work legally in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas decided Venezuelan migrants faced abnormally dangerous conditions in their home country — granting a group of them the ability to apply for a reauthorized “temporary protected status.”
Hochul now is enlisting the help of borough presidents to help thousands of Venezuelan migrants apply for temporary protected status.
What You Need To Know
- According to City Hall's Asylum Application Help Center, 6,921 asylum applications were filed, 1,803 work authorization applications and 1,779 temporary protected status applications
- Venezuelan migrants who arrived before July 30 are eligible to apply for TPS now through April 25, 2025
- Four out of the five borough presidents offices will lend their offices to the state and city to help with TPS applications
- The White House is planning to open up a "one stop shop" for TPS applications in New York
By the end of November, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Bronx borough presidents — except Republican Vito Fossella of Staten Island — will let state caseworkers set up shop in their respective buildings, NY1 has learned.
“They will have an office filling out applications for TPS in our office in Borough Hall. So we’re happy that we’re gonna be able to contribute in some way, somehow. Governor Hochul made it happen, so I’m really excited about that,” Brooklyn’s Democratic Borough President Antonio Reynoso told NY1 Friday in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Venezuelans who came to the U.S. before July 30 are eligible through April 2025.
Once they apply, in theory, they’re moved ahead of other migrants waiting for work authorization. They could get the green-light within 30 days — bypassing the typical 180-day period.
“Because many of our migrants that have arrived here want to work. And if we give them the legal authority and the authorization to work, they would be part of our tax base, they would pay taxes. And they would be a part of our communities,” added Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, also a Democrat.
Hochul wants to boost the numbers of applicants. Although the program opened on Oct. 3, over a month later, just 1,700 in the city and around 700 in upstate submitted their papers.
That’s out of an estimated 15,000 eligible living in taxpayer-funded shelters.
“As part of Governor Hochul’s $88 million investment in legal services and case management for asylum seekers and migrants, we’re excited to partner with local leaders to help enroll eligible people in the federal TPS program. Governor Hochul has invested nearly $2 billion to support the response to the migrant crisis and will continue partnering closely with the city,” said Maggie Halley, a spokeswoman for Hochul, in a statement.
According to Hochul’s and Mayor Eric Adams’ offices, not one person has been granted TPS from that group.
But a Biden administration source said the federal government has been processing and approving applications nationwide since the program opened on Oct. 3. The source also said that they’re gearing up to launch a “one stop shop” for migrants to apply for TPS, work authorization and asylum in the Big Apple within the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, the crisis is draining New York’s budget.
“Here we are: where we’re facing massive budget cuts, we have no idea what to do with these people…turning the borough presidents into immigration officials is just a ridiculous solution,” Republican City Councilman Joe Borelli, who represents parts of Staten Island, said.
City Hall projects it will cover $12 billion in housing, food and other costs over the next three years. Hochul wants to quit funding expensive, and seemingly indefinite hotels stays, and target legal clinics aimed at getting migrants tools needed to exit the shelter system.
Although tax hikes aren’t yet on the table, state leaders are workshopping alternate plans.
“We obviously are looking to again, our federal partners, but we will work together to try and make something that is reasonable while we are addressing the crisis,” State Sen. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, told NY1. “We obviously have found resources but again: we all need to find resources in order for this issue to be dealt with.”
Another concern raised is even if TPS is granted, gaining worker authorization could still take months, or years.
A Seattle nonprofit filed a lawsuit last spring against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, arguing the backlog is jeopardizing migrants’ safety.