September 12, 2023 — In the past year, more than 100,000 migrants have been relocated from the southwestern border of the U.S. to New York State.  Efforts to take care of these asylum seekers are ongoing by both the State and New York City, where a large number of the migrants are located.  

To make sure the State can help the asylum seekers and New Yorkers going forward, Governor Kathy Hochul penned a letter to President Joe Biden on Aug. 24 requesting federal funds and resources to help with the crisis. 

“The City and State have provided significant funding, staffing and case management for these arrivals to date,” Hochul wrote. “I write to you today to express a most urgent need for the federal government to take executive action and direct significant financial assistance to address this challenge.” 

In her letter, Governor Hochul outlined four steps she believes would benefit New York the most.  

First, work authorizations, which would provide asylum seekers the ability to work legally in the United States. Second, federal financial assistance, which would include money for Healthcare, Transportation, Housing and Education. New York has already committed $1.5 billion to these efforts. Third, the opening of properties owned by the federal government for use as temporary shelters. And lastly, reimbursement from the federal government for deploying National Guard members from the state. 

PEF President Wayne Spence put out a statement in support of Hochul’s letter to the President, and Hochul’s call for aid. 

“As an immigrant myself, I can’t begin to imagine what these folks have been through and are now experiencing,” Spence said. “I support Governor Hochul’s request to the federal government to do more.” 

Spence pointed out that the crisis is also impacting PEF Members. In August, a temporary housing opened at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, N.Y. About 1,000 migrants are supposed to be housed there at the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center.  

“Although better than sleeping in the streets, a tent city on the grounds of a psychiatric center cannot be the solution, even temporarily,” Spence said. “This crisis is directly impacting the safety of PEF members who work at the psychiatric facility.” 

Spence highlighted the governor’s call for legal work authorization as the most important part of the federal government’s role in New York. 

“Governor Hochul is correct: There are jobs and opportunity in New York for people who can legally work, and with federal support we can make this a reality for asylum seekers.” 

Hochul’s letter has been posted on the governor’s website. President Spence’s entire statement can be found below and on the union’s Facebook page.

Wayne Spence Social Post