Hochul pledges no migrants will be forced upstate

Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 2:08 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - Governor Kathy Hochul pledged Thursday that the state will not force upstate counties to shelter asylum seekers.

Hochul’s promise came as New York City deals with more than 100,000 migrants, shipped north from the southern border. The city has struggled to find adequate shelter and services for them.

“We cannot and will not force other parts of our state to shelter migrants,” Hochul said. “Nor are we going to be asking these migrants to move to other parts of the state against their will.”

Concern over migrants being bussed north prompted St. Lawrence County to declare a state of emergency earlier this year, and for the mayor of West Carthage to go to court to block a motel from housing migrants.

Hochul said Thursday she is formally asking the Biden administration to clear the way so that migrants can work legally in New York.

“What we’ve said all along is just let them work,” she said, “so that we can get these people out of shelters.”

She said the migrants would help ease the state’s shortage of workers.

“We have countless unfilled jobs that are begging for someone to just take them,” Hochul said.

The governor said she is directing the state Department of Labor to start matching migrants with jobs so they can start work as soon as “they’re legally able to work.”

She is also asking the Biden administration for financial help - New York has budgeted more than $1.5 billion for migrant services.