New York State’s Funding Surge for Venezuelan Asylum Seekers

(WNY News Now) – In a decisive move to address the growing Venezuelan migrant crisis, New York State reports a significant uptick in Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applications, with over 2,800 completed since the recent expansion of eligibility last month. Governor Hochul, prioritizing economic stability, directs substantial resources towards legal work status, aiming to assist more than 15,000 Venezuelans in achieving employment within 30 days.

Albany – New York State is making strides in managing the influx of Venezuelan asylum seekers and migrants by focusing on the timely processing of TPS applications. With over 2,800 applications completed since the recent expansion of eligibility, the state’s efforts build upon the Governor’s earlier commitment of $50 million for casework and legal services, announced in September. In the last 45 days alone, more than 4,800 work authorization applications and 2,800 TPS applications have been successfully processed.

Governor Hochul emphasizes the importance of providing migrants with stable job opportunities and independent living to address the crisis effectively. “Migrants and asylum seekers came here to work, and we can solve this crisis by getting them into stable jobs and independent living,” says the Governor, underscoring the potential solution lies in legal work status.

The Office for New Americans in New York State has identified 805 Venezuelans relocated to Upstate hotels by New York City. State-contracted local nonprofits have counseled all members of this group, with nearly 90 percent of those eligible having filed or in the process of filing TPS applications. Specifically, 621 TPS applications have been filed, and an additional 85 are in progress.

Governor Hochul has assigned Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos to coordinate legal services with New York City. This initiative includes identifying locations for the federal team and supporting expanded services throughout the city, complementing the ongoing efforts at the Asylum Application Help Center funded by the State and run by the City.

Recognizing work authorization as a key path out of the crisis, Governor Hochul, alongside a coalition of leaders, successfully advocated for the White House to grant Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans arriving in the U.S. on or before July 31, 2023. This move is estimated to enable over 15,000 individuals to attain legal work status within 30 days.

To streamline the application process, the Governor has mobilized 250 National Guard personnel for full-time case management services, part of a larger deployment of over 2,100 personnel to address the ongoing situation. Significant financial resources have been deployed, including $38 million for city case management and legal services, $20 million for local nonprofits serving asylum seekers, $20 million to boost New York City’s casework surge through NYC Health + Hospitals, and $10 million for migrant legal services.

In total, New York State has committed nearly $1.9 billion to support asylum seekers and migrants, covering shelter, transportation, and social services. A recent advancement of $250 million to the City further underscores the state’s commitment to addressing this humanitarian challenge. Multiple state-owned sites, including the former Lincoln Correctional Facility in Manhattan and Building 197 at JFK Airport, are being offered as shelters, with the State also covering the costs of Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers (HERRCs) at Creedmoor Psychiatric Facility and on Randall’s Island. The holistic approach by New York State signals a comprehensive effort to manage and support the needs of Venezuelan asylum seekers and migrants in the current crisis.

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