NEW YORK - It’s been more than a month, but City Hall says none of the migrants who were just recently granted temporary legal status by the Biden Administration have received their work papers.
"So we really don’t have anyone who has actually received the work authorization to date," New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams questioned at a city council hearing.
In late September, President Joe Biden granted temporary legal status to Venezuelan migrants who arrived in the country before July 31st, which allows them to start working once their asylum and TPS claims are filed.
The city just recently ramped up its efforts to help migrants apply for work authorization, but out of the at least 15,000 migrants who are eligible, so far only 2,100 have submitted their paperwork. And out of those 2,100 migrants who have submitted their applications - not a single one has received their work papers.
"That’s because it just opened up a couple of weeks ago and once we submit the application, it takes the federal government many weeks to months to adjudicate," Molly Schaeffer, Interim Director of the Office of Asylum Seeker Operations said.
This revelation came during an oversight hearing that the city council was conducting – examining how much it costs the city to care for migrants per day and why.
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams called it "perplexing" why the cost of caring for migrants is continuing to rise.
For example, it used to cost $360 a day to care for a migrant – now it costs $394.
Councilman Justin Brannan also tried to pressure the mayor’s administration about the exact breakdown of these costs, but was met with a more generic answer that it’s based on a variety of factors.
"Can you break that down to us by dollar? What it breaks down to food, rent, shelter services," Councilman Brannan questioned.
"There’s a lot of shared resources and shared contracting that's happening," David Greenberg, Deputy Director for Health and Social Services at the Mayor's Office of Management and Budget said. "And so when we do the per diem, we look at the system-wide costs."
Adams administration officials were also pressed on a recent policy change that will limit shelter stays for migrant families with children.
The city is caring for more than 65,000 migrants in its homeless shelter and migrant shelter system.
Dr. Ted Long says they when migrants were first arriving in new York city – it was mostly only single adult men – however many expressed they had plans to move their families over from Venezuela and other countries.
Now the city says that there are more than 40,000 migrant families with children in the city’s care.
"We're still getting 4,000 people per week," Schaeffer said. "We still have more than 130,000 people who come in. This is not something that anybody wants to do, but it's sort of out of necessity at this point."
The city confirmed that it had to close a migrant shelter at the former Touro University in Manhattan after the FDNY shut it down.
The city says the 130 single adult men living there were "vacated due to an inadequate fire alarm."