(The Center Square) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed off on a temporary plan to make it easier for asylum seekers to find jobs in the state government.
The New York Civil Service Commission approved the measure at its Jan. 18 meeting. Hochul said the state is working with agencies to implement the changes, including dropping application requirements like proof of a high school diploma and English proficiency.
“I have 10,000 openings in the New York State workforce. From our operations to SUNY, I have 10,000 openings,” Hochul told reporters at a Tuesday press briefing. “So this is to give options to people but to say we are working intensely to get work authorization — these are all legal people.”
The governor said the program is open to migrants with federal work authorization, Green Card holders and U.S. citizens who don’t meet the basic employment requirements.
“I’m anxious to get this moving quickly, and once they’re approved, we can match people to jobs,” Hochul said. “They don’t need to be reliant on services any longer, which I think is the objective to not have people supported by taxpayers in our shelters.”
The Hochul administration has identified 4,000 entry-level job openings within state agencies, including administrative, equipment service, repair and food services, according to an internal memo obtained by local media outlets.
“The creation of these transitional titles is a win-win way for the State and its agencies to connect qualified and motivated individuals with meaningful jobs and opportunity; help solve the migrant crisis; and rebuild the State workforce,” the proposal states.
The initiative comes as New York grapples with a surge of tens of thousands of migrants following an unprecedented spike in immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border and increasing numbers of illegal crossings.
New York City is caring for more than 60,000 migrants at shelters across five boroughs, which has cost taxpayers more than $1 billion over the past year. Those costs are expected to run as high as $10 billion in coming years, according to Mayor Eric Adams.
Hochul is among a group of Democrats calling on the Biden administration to expedite work authorization for migrants, provide more federal funding and take steps to secure the southern border.
Republicans, who argue that Hochul’s support for ‘sanctuary’ state policies is drawing migrants to New York, blasted the move to put asylum seekers into state jobs.
“While much of the country has united to put a halt to the southern border invasion, New York is rolling out the red carpet and using billions of taxpayer dollars to do so,” state Rep. Will Barclay, R-Fulton, posted on social media. “The solutions should not be built upon prioritizing migrants over our state’s citizens.”