New York Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Monday the state identified approximately 18,000 job openings — from more than 350 employers across various industries in the state — that are willing to hire immigrants eligible to legally work in the United States.
“Migrants and asylum seekers came here to work — so let’s put them to work,” Governor Hochul said in a news release. “Right now, we have a migrant crisis and a workforce crisis. By connecting work-eligible individuals with jobs and opportunity in New York, we can solve them both and secure a brighter future for all New Yorkers.”
Hochul’s announcement comes less than 24 hours after she said the southern border is “too open” as the U.S. has seen a record number of illegal crossings since President Joe Biden took the White House in 2021.
“We are always so proud of the fact that New York has the Statue of Liberty in our harbor,” Hochul reportedly told “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “We are one of the most diverse places on earth because of our welcoming nature, and it’s in our DNA to welcome immigrants. But there has to be some limits in place.”
New York City alone has been struggling with a migrant crisis as tens of thousands of newcomers showed up on their doorstep after border state governors began bussing migrants to the city and other metropolitan areas run by Democrats earlier this year. The city has already spent more than $1.2 billion on the migrants and is projected to spend up to $5 billion, which has sparked tension between New York’s Democratic leaders and the Biden administration, with the governor and mayor calling for more federal help with the migrant crisis.
“We have to manage the fact that there’s 125,000 people right now, up until tomorrow, have not been eligible to work and have relied on public support for housing,” Hochul said at a press conference. “That is not a sustainable dynamic. It is just not sustainable in the long term. But we’ve dealt with it. So, I’m going to call on businesses to sign up even more.”
Hochul directed New York State Department of Labor officials over the summer to connect employers with immigrants who have attained legal work status as New York’s unemployment rate dropped below 4% for the first time since early 2020, the state Department of Labor reportedly announced in June.
According to the governor’s office’s breakdown, about 24% of the job openings come from 90 businesses in accommodation and food services, 21% in healthcare and social assistance, and 10% or less in manufacturing and administrative support.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security opened a path for more Venezuelan migrants to get work permits last month by expanding Temporary Protected Status, which New York City reportedly estimates more than 15,000 Venezuelans could attain legal work status within 30 days.
“I am hopeful and continue to press Washington and Congress to open up those work authorizations to more people because, again, the Venezuelans is a good start, but it’s not going to take care of the people who come in from Mauritania, and Congo, and other parts of South America, Central America, West Africa,” she said. “We have people from Iraq and Afghanistan coming; people from Russia are coming because everyone’s finding their way to that southern border. And that’s where we need to have more thoughtful controls at that as well.”
House GOP Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said Hochul’s latest move incentivizes illegal immigration while some New Yorkers are more concerned about living in a Sanctuary State.
“Not even 24 hours after conceding that the border crisis is a national security crisis, Governor Kathy Hochul is back to incentivizing illegal immigration, announcing 18,000 jobs for those who entered the United States illegally, including hundreds of jobs across Upstate New York and the North Country,” Stefanik told Fox News in a statement. “While New Yorkers are demanding border security, Hochul is worsening the crisis with her failed ‘Sanctuary State’ policies. Enough is enough. If Hochul is serious about ending our illegal immigration crisis, she would demand Chuck Schumer pass and Joe Biden sign into law the Secure the Border Act, which is the strongest border security bill in history.”
Mairead Elordi contributed to this report.