NYC migrant crisis: Officials ramp up efforts as asylum seekers await work permits

New York City officials will be ramping up their efforts over the next few weeks to identify and assist migrants in the city’s care who can apply for asylum, Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom announced on Wednesday. 

Once an asylum claim is submitted, the 6-month clock can start for migrants to receive a work permit. 

The Asylum Application Help Center was launched in June and city officials say as of this week they have assessed around 10,000 migrants and helped 3,800 apply for work permits. 


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"Once an application is completed, it is reviewed by at least two immigration attorneys and then mailed for the applicant," Masha Gindler, Executive Director of the Asylum Seeker Application Help Center explained. 

A very small percentage of the migrants in the city have been granted parole by federal authorities, according to city officials, which means they can apply for work authorization immediately after entering the country. 

City and State leaders have been pleading with the federal government to expand this program so migrants from at least 11 different countries can be granted parole and start working immediately, but right now White House Officials have signaled that is unlikely to happen. 

In the meantime, Governor Kathy Hochul says the state is considering circumventing the federal government to grant migrants state level work permits. 


NYC migrant crisis: Hochul explores state-level work permits for migrants

Right now, migrants have to wait at least 180 days after applying for asylum before they can receive a work permit.

However, White House officials in a background briefing to reporters on Tuesday say they would advise against this. 

When asked about these comments, Hochul said, "I'm aware of what the White House has said. And I'm saying it's a federal problem, we need your help to do something. So I'm looking at possible language I want to make sure it's going to be successful."

More than 113,000 migrants have now passed through New York City since last spring, with nearly 60,000 still in the city’s care.

In this briefing on Tuesday, White House officials outlined numerous ways the city can better care for migrants. 

Mayor Eric Adams responded as he was leaving a union event.  

The Department of Homeland Security this week is sending at least 50 employees to the city to help identify migrants eligible to apply for work authorization. 

Congressman Dan Goldman also said on Pix 11 that the federal government would be allocating an addition $100 million to aid the city in the migrant crisis. To date, they have provided the city just under $150 million.

Just last week, more than 3,200 migrants arrived in the city.