New York City and upstate county leaders clarified plans Thursday to relocate more than 1,500 migrants living in upstate hotels by the end of the year.

Mayor Eric Adams' Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack and officials in the city's Office of Asylum Seekers Operations held a 45-minute remote meeting with New York State Association of Counties and leaders of counties housing migrants not under a resettlement program.

City and state officials are working together to assess the 1,549 migrants living in Albany, Monroe, Erie, Westchester and Suffolk counties and connect them with more permanent housing in those communities.

State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen Acquario was on Thursday's call, and said they will prioritize placing migrant families with children in other housing by Aug. 15, or about three weeks before school starts to avoid disruption in their education.

"It's a huge priority on children — the focus is on children, 100%," Acquario said. "Then, secondarily is the families."

The goal is to resettle most migrants  in permanent housing upstate, but some will have the option to return to the city, or another city in the U.S. The relocation plan is different than what county leaders said earlier this week.

County leaders on Monday said they've been negotiating with city leaders for weeks about relocating all migrants living in hotels back to the five boroughs. They maintain that earlier this month, officials with Adams' office said all migrants living upstate would be sent back to the city this summer.

The Adams' administration said Wednesday the city has not active plans to return families to the five boroughs, as about 1,000 migrants continue to arrive in the city each week from the Northern and Southern borders.

"We don't have any intentions and there's no plan to bring people back here to New York City," Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom said Wednesday. "...How do we make sure that we get people connected and integrated into community? So that is our plan and that is what our plan is going to continue to be."

Thursday's meeting was an update on the next steps in relocation plans that remain in negotiation. 

A total of $50 million in the last two state budgets went to the Migrant Relocation Assistance Program — providing a year of rent support for migrants under the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. The funding is part of the state's $4.3 billion allocated for migrant services in the last two years.

"The plan is that in this part of the MRAP program, the rent is paid for a year and then the expectation is individuals will be working and able to support themselves," Acquario said.

He added city officials are confident up to 80% of the migrants in hotels will have secured federal work authorization status by the end of the year, and can connect them with work and housing in their current communities.

Officials will focus on resettling families first, then single adults this fall. All migrants are expected to be relocated out of hotels by year's end.

If people cannot be resettled upstate, they will be offered paid bus tickets to any city in the United States.

"If that's their choice, if they want to go back, they can get a ticket to a city of their choice paid for by the city of New York," Acquario said.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said less than a third of over 685 asylum seekers not in a resettlement program in the county have gotten working permits to date. And with a total of 1,300 asylum seekers living in Albany County, he's worried the county does not have the resources to permanently care for families in hotels.

"My issue is that we are above capacity compared to any other county in the state rail, other than New York City," McCoy said.

Officials with OTDA on Friday said MRAP was designed to provide up to one year of rental assistance and wrap-around services for 1,250 migrant families that have applied for asylum or other status and is expected to secure work authorization. 

"Additional funds may be available for relocation services from other migrant-designated funding sources if needed," according to a statement from OTDA on Friday.

OTDA will help counties locate permant housing for migrants currently living in hotels, especially for households with children, according to the department. 

State lawmakers are expected to return to Albany sometime this year, but legislative leaders say immigration remains a federal issue, and New York needs more assistance from Washington.

"I still think immigration is a federal issue, you know, that the state has been picking up for, but I don't know how long that can last," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters Friday. "We need the federal government to deal with it."

U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro told reporters Friday that New York and the city's sanctuary policy has led to the state's humanitarian crisis.

"It is likely that Mayor Adams has no idea where many of these individuals are, and we're seeing it play out tragically not only in the Capital District but in communities around America," Molinaro said. "...We see individuals committing crimes with a capacity for law enforcement to intervene and we see a community struggling to meet the demands and needs of their own citizens. This has got to come to an end."

Leaders in Erie, Monroe, Westchester and Suffolk counties either did not return requests for comment about the city's updated relocation plans or referred questions to DocGo, the medical services company the city initially hired in a no-bid emergency contract to assist migrants.

DocGo on Friday referred all questions to Adams' office.

Adams' office refused to answer repeated questions about  DocGo's involvement in the upcoming relocations as the city transitions to another service provider to assist migrants.