New York governor wants to spend $2.4B on migrants in new budget proposal
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that she wants to spend $2.4 billion to care for the massive influx of migrants who have overwhelmed New York City's homeless shelters — addressing a damaging political issue for Democrats in her annual state budget proposal.
The migrant spending plan — which would include shelter services, legal assistance and more — came as part of a $233 billion budget proposal from the governor's office that will kick off months of negotiations with legislative leaders.
How the governor planned to deal with deal with migrants, some 70,000 of whom are in the care of New York City, had been a looming question ahead of the legislative session.
The governor did not tackle the issue in her State of the State address last week and the word “migrant” wasn't mentioned in her detailed 181-page policy plan book, an omission that was criticized by many at the Capitol.
The issue has the potential to damage Democratic congressional candidates this fall, with New York expected to be a battleground for control of the U.S. House. Republicans have been lobbing steady criticism at President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats over federal immigration policy, with the subject already touching races in New York.
Hochul, who at times has sparred with New York City Mayor Eric Adams' administration over the city's migrant response, had for months pledged another round of financial assistance to help the city with the asylum seekers. The state has already allocated $1.9 billion in emergency funds
Adams himself spent last week recalibrating his own budget projections, reversing a small number of cuts he had planned to make after his office lowered its estimates of how much the migrant crisis would cost the city.
In Hochul's plan, the $2.4 billion earmarked for migrants would go toward short-term shelter services, health care and pay for larger-scale emergency housing centers that have been set up to deal with the influx of asylum seekers.
It would also be used to pay for legal assistance to help migrants through the asylum and work-permitting process, according to her proposal.