Hochul Promises Thousands Of NY Jobs For Migrants

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) made headlines this week with her announcement that the Empire State has identified around 18,000 job openings across 350 employers for immigrants who are legally permitted to work in the United States. This came amid the backdrop of a significant migrant influx, where New York City alone had seen an arrival of over 125,000 newcomers.

Addressing this dual challenge, Hochul stated, “Migrants and asylum seekers came here to work — so let’s put them to work. Right now, we have a migrant crisis and a workforce crisis. By connecting work-eligible individuals with jobs and opportunities in New York, we can solve them both and secure a brighter future for all New Yorkers.”

However, these words come on the heels of her previous comment on the southern border being “too open.” Indeed, Hochul’s position seems contradictory, with the United States witnessing a historic number of illegal border crossings since Joe Biden assumed office. She noted New York’s pride in hosting the Statue of Liberty, emphasizing the state’s history of welcoming immigrants but adding, “There has to be some limits in place.”

For New York City, the issue is compounded as many of these migrants were bussed in after being processed in border states. This has reportedly led to the city spending upwards of $1.2 billion, with projections suggesting costs could rise to $5 billion. It’s a burden that’s causing strains between New York’s Democratic leadership and the Biden administration.

In response, Hochul is making an emotional appeal to businesses, hoping to tap into a solution by harnessing the potential of this new workforce. Over the summer, she had directed the New York State Department of Labor to connect immigrants with legal work status to potential employers, significantly as the state’s unemployment rate fell below 4%.

Of the job openings identified, 24% hail from the accommodation and food services sector, 21% from healthcare and social assistance, with manufacturing and administrative support each accounting for 10% or less.

Hochul also recognized the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to expand Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelan migrants. This move could potentially see over 15,000 Venezuelans in New York City gaining legal work status. However, she emphasized the need for Congress to extend such authorizations more broadly, pointing to the diverse origins of migrants arriving from places like Mauritania, Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Russia.

But not everyone sees this as a clear-cut solution. House GOP Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) strongly critiqued Hochul’s approach, suggesting that it could further incentivize illegal immigration. “While New Yorkers are demanding border security, Hochul is worsening the crisis with her failed ‘Sanctuary State’ policies,” Stefanik said. Her solution? “Demand Chuck Schumer pass and Joe Biden sign into law the Secure the Border Act.”

Ultimately, as Hochul emphasizes the need to offer work opportunities to the migrant population, questions about border security, national identity, and the balance between compassion and security come to the fore. Only time will tell if her approach to this complex issue will result in a sustainable solution or further complications for American citizens struggling to make ends meet.