NEW YORK - Governor Kathy Hochul announced Monday that the state will be deploying an additional 150 National Guard members to assist with the migrant crisis. This means that a total of 2,200 guard members have now been assigned to help deal with this crisis since October 2022.
The National Guard members will work solely on case management. Now that President Joe Biden expanded temporary protected status to Venezuelan migrants, city and state officials are trying to identify these migrants to help them apply for work authorization.
Mayor Eric Adams estimates that more than 9,000 migrants currently in the city’s shelter system are Venezuelan and eligible to work. By being granted temporary protection status, Venezuelan migrants now do not have to wait the typical 6 months after applying for asylum to get their work papers.
"That coveted work authorization, that's their ticket to the American dream," Hochul said on Monday to a group of National Guard members. "So you'll be helping them get a job, helping them support themselves, and helping them leave these shelters."
For almost a year, National Guard members have also been welcoming buses full of migrants at the Port Authority.
National Guard personnel are currently staffing 51 hotels where migrants are living and two Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers.
The guards we spoke with say this has been a unique challenge.
"Right now I have about 400 plus at my site," Staff Sergeant Jelani Parjohn explained. "We have anywhere between males and females and then younger children. They have nothing actually for the most part when they arrive."
Parjohn continued that it is "much, much more challenging," than what they are used to.
Migrant crossings at the border have surged over the past few months and here in the city buses of migrants continue to arrive.
City officials wouldn’t give a specific number, but according to sources on the ground at least 6 buses with migrants arrived over the weekend.
However, city and state officials continue to have different numbers on how many migrants are in the shelter system, how many have left and where these migrants are coming from.
Hochul confirmed that they do not have a shared city and state migrant database, but the city is now ramping up its efforts to keep track of who is entering the shelter system.
This has been the federal government’s biggest critique of the city’s handling of the migrant crisis.
"Early on, there was not a lot of tracking, but on the other hand, early on, the effort was to get people into a place to live," Hochul said.
"They started actually tracking people this summer, I gave another 20 million to health and hospitals, so we're invested financially in their efforts."
Mayor Eric Adams also recently announced that he will be limiting the number of days migrants can stay in shelters from 60 days to 30 days.
This will be debated in court on Tuesday at 2:15 which is the next court hearing on the right-to-shelter mandate and if this right to a bed applies only to New Yorkers or if this includes migrants.