The Biden administration has some suggestions for where New York City can house some of the 60,000 asylum seekers who recently arrived: a remote facility closer to Montreal than Manhattan, a tax office on Long Island and Atlantic City International Airport.
(Bloomberg) — The Biden administration has some suggestions for where New York City can house some of the 60,000 asylum seekers who recently arrived: a remote facility closer to Montreal than Manhattan, a tax office on Long Island and Atlantic City International Airport.
The sites are on a list of 11 federally owned facilities that US Department of Homeland Security officials sent to Mayor Eric Adams this week as possible locations to house migrants, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions who asked not to be identified.
Most of the sites are outside of the city, including Stewart International Airport, a small Hudson Valley facility frequently used by private jet owners. The Atlantic City location is even in another state, New Jersey.
One recommended site, Massena International Airport, is 365 miles (588 kilometers) from the city, in remote St. Lawrence County on New York’s Canadian border. It serves as a US Customs port of entry from Canada.
A spokesperson for the DHS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s office referred to a statement Hochul made last week:
“We cannot and will not force other parts of our state to shelter migrants, nor are we going to be asking these migrants to move to other parts of the state against their will.”
A spokesperson for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposal to use the Atlantic City airport.
The list of federally owned sites is the latest point of frustration in an escalating standoff between the Biden administration and New York state and local officials over how best to handle the migrants. The saga has exposed a messy rift among some of the country’s most high-profile Democrats leading up to the 2024 presidential election.
Adams has spent months publicly criticizing the Biden administration for its unwillingness to help the city with the logistics and costs of caring for the migrants. Hundreds are still arriving each week, and the city has set up more than 200 makeshift shelters over the past 18 months, in commercial hotels, office buildings and temporary tent structures at city- and state-run facilities.
City officials recently estimated the cost could reach $12 billion over the three-year period ending in July 2025.
Read more: New York City faces $12 billion expense to house migrants
One site on the list that local and federal officials have already agreed on is Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, which Hochul specifically requested. It was approved for migrant housing by Biden officials this month.
Hochul and Adams have recently escalated calls for Biden to act, asking the president to issue an emergency declaration that could free up federal funding to manage the crisis, and to grant temporary protected status to some of the migrants, which would expedite the process allowing them to work legally in the US.
Adding to the fray, a group of more than 100 high-profile New York City business leaders this week signed onto a letter calling for federal action to help speed up work authorization for the migrants.
Read more: New York escalates call for federal help on NYC migrant crisis
The Biden administration has criticisms of its own. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a pair of letters this week outlining problems with New York City’s “structural and operational” handling of the migrant crisis, promising to share approximately two dozen recommendations for improvement with city officials.
Advocates for the asylum seekers said the locations are too far from opportunities for employment to be beneficial.
“At these sites, it seems unlikely that anyone would be able to have access to any place where they could work,” said Josh Goldfein, a staff attorney at Legal Aid. “It’s far from legal services, from access to medical care.”
–With assistance from Lindsey Rupp.
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