Kathy Hochul unveils new work program for illegal immigrants as 380,000 New Yorkers remain unemployed

Hochul's office called on Biden to provide work authorizations for more than 100,000 migrants.


New York Gov. (D) Kathy Hochul has announced a jobs program for illegal immigrants coming into the state at the same time that around 380,000 New York State citizens are unemployed.  

Hochul's office announced the program in a press release calling on President Joe Biden to use the federal government to provide work authorization for more than 100,000 migrants who have entered the state. Meanwhile, 380,000 New Yorkers are unemployed. 

This comes after Hochul announced the implementation of a measure to protect illegal immigrants from labor investigations in July.  

The press release states, "Governor Hochul directed the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) to help connect asylum seekers to employment opportunities so they can begin working immediately after obtaining federal work authorization." 

Prior to the announcement of the program, Hochul directed $20 million in taxpayer dollars to "expedite the casework filing process for more than 30,000" migrants in the state after already using $1.5 billion to support the same group with shelter, healthcare, and other measures. 

New York City's unemployment rate is up to 5.3 percent as of July, while the national unemployment rate hovered around 3.5 percent. During the first half of 2023, an average of 10,000 migrants arrived in the city each month.  

In the release, Hochul also attached a letter to President Joe Biden to assist the state government in its struggle to take on the additional cost of handling the crisis.  

In the letter, Hochul requests four objectives to be taken by the Biden administration. Work authorizations are among those requests.  

Hochul additionally asked for more financial assistance. To date, the federal government has sent $145 million in contributions to assist the state while NYC Mayor Eric Adams has estimated the crisis could cost $12 billion total.  

Hochul also asked for temporary shelters, as the NYC shelter system is caring for over 58,000 migrants and has already opened 200 shelters of its own in response to the crisis.  

Hochul also asked Biden to reimburse the costs of the National Guard in NYC and other counties around the state. The services provided have cost over $22 million each month to the state of New York.  

Hochul ended the letter to Biden by saying that it "is the federal government’s direct responsibility to manage and control of the nation’s borders." She stressed that without "any capacity or responsibility to address the cause of the migrant influx, New Yorkers cannot then shoulder these costs." 

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