Just 2100 migrants have applied for work permits - and none of them have federal approval yet, reports New York Post.
City Hall doesn't have a clear idea of how many of the adult asylum seekers it houses are even eligible to legally work here, officials acknowledged at a City Council hearing. The revelation disappointed even Mayor Adams' fellow Democrats on the council.
“This anti-migrant strategy will get us nowhere; we must secure the border,” said Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens).
So far, the city's migrant assistance center has received 444 job applications, and another 1700 applications have been submitted through federal agencies located in Lower Manhattan. And none of them received federal approval.
Priority to Venezuelans
The stunning admissions came during an Oct. 18 hearing of the City Council's Immigration Committee, which revealed that the city had not given priority to Venezuelans at a migrant center. He didn't even bother telling them about the changes, even though the Biden administration decided last month to grant temporary protected status to people from the troubled country.
“When Temporary Protected Status was announced, we were busy through October, so we couldn't bring in any additional clients,” said Masha Gindler, executive director of the Asylum Seeker Help Center. “So the first available week when we can increase TPS intake will be in early November.”
The government-funded center in Midtown employs 75 people to handle paperwork and 20 lawyers to oversee the process. Since the end of June, the center has processed 5600 asylum applications.
At the same time, according to Gindler, out of 2100 job applications, only 300 concerned Venezuelans. “We cannot encourage bypassing standard immigration procedures and extending TPS without ensuring that those who need it actually use these protections,” Holden said. “The migrant crisis requires serious attention and sustained action.”
A month ago, the Biden administration extended protections for people fleeing the country and experiencing extreme poverty as long as they crossed the border before August, following calls from Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams, who argued the work would allow them to leave the overcrowded environment sooner. New York's shelter system.
A complex system
These applications are expected to be processed within weeks, while others without TPS status must wait six months to apply after formally applying for asylum.
However, City Hall hasn't even started working with these people yet, and officials are still unsure about who should apply for work permits. “The assessment will give us a lot of information about who is eligible for a work permit and who we can call back and set up an appointment at the center,” Gindler said.
The city, which has been criticized by federal and state authorities for not collecting enough information on migrants in its care, has launched a “sprint” to survey tens of thousands of asylum seekers in New York.
At that time, 800 applications for work permits had already been submitted. Five weeks later, Gindler said the city was still waiting for results and could not even fully agree with the mayor's stated figure of 15 Venezuelans eligible to work.
However, the city, she said, has set itself a lofty goal. Since the crisis began, 130 migrants have passed through New York and 600 are still in the city's custody: “Our goal is to identify and make appointments for all Venezuelans by the end of the year.”