(WNY News Now) – New York – The Hochul Administration called on New York’s Members of Congress currently serving in the House Majority to support the bipartisan compromise on border security. Governor Hochul’s Director of State Operations, Kathryn Garcia, issued the directive as part of a formal response to Representative Elise Stefanik’s letter, signed with eight additional New York members in the majority, from January 28.
The full text of Director Garcia’s letter is below:
Dear Representatives Stefanik, Langworthy, Malliotakis, Williams, Tenney, LaLota, Molinaro, Lawler and D’Esposito:
I write to confirm receipt of your letter to Governor Hochul dated January 26, 2024. As Director of State Operations, I oversee the state agencies that Governor Hochul has directed to respond to the unprecedented arrival of migrants and asylum seekers in New York.
During your time serving in the majority of the House of Representatives, the State of New York has faced an unprecedented humanitarian crisis as more than 170,000 migrants and asylum seekers have arrived in our State. Governor Hochul has worked for nearly two years with New York City to manage this crisis, investing nearly $2 billion in State funds to date.
Meanwhile, you and your colleagues have taken no action to help address this national crisis, and in fact waited until this past week to even reach out to our Administration and express your concerns.
I would direct you to the letter recently organized by Governor Hochul in which nine governors from across the country called on you and your colleagues to:
“Quickly negotiate an agreement on a border security legislative package that includes federal coordination and decompression at the southern and northern borders; federal funding for both border and interior states and cities receiving new arrivals; and a serious commitment to modernizing our immigration system in the United States.”
As for the issue of security along New York’s northern border, State personnel have been working for months with relevant federal agencies, at Governor Hochul’s direction, to supplement existing enforcement efforts. The Governor has dedicated significant resources to this effort. Your accusations will not distract New Yorkers from the real issue at play: the number of migrant encounters happening along the southern border dwarfs those at the northern border, and the majority of those encountered at the northern border are deemed inadmissible by customs enforcement. And while more than 270 members of the New York National Guard are currently deployed to the southern border, the increase of noncitizens along that border can only be addressed through federal action.
The United States Constitution clearly assigns responsibility for federal legislative action to the United States Congress, the body in which you all currently serve. Though Governor Hochul has spent months calling for significant federal aid, thus far you and your colleagues in the House Majority have refused to deliver. Indeed, many of your colleagues have plainly stated they will oppose any proposals that would help New York address this crisis due to their own electoral concerns: Speaker Johnson says this bipartisan deal is “dead on arrival” while Congressman Nehls of Texas went as far as to say, “I’m not willing to do too damn much right now to help a Democrat.”
There is a bipartisan immigration compromise currently being negotiated by Senator Lankford of Oklahoma, a Republican; Senator Sinema of Arizona, an Independent; and Senator Murphy of Connecticut, a Democrat. President Biden has publicly said he supports this compromise approach, and would literally shut down the southern border if Congress granted him the authority to do so.
To date, we have not received any indication that you support this bipartisan compromise. Given the urgency and importance of this situation, we request your response on the following questions by February 12, 2024:
- Do you support the bipartisan immigration compromise currently being negotiated by your colleagues in the United States Congress?
- Will you publicly call on Speaker Johnson to bring this bipartisan compromise to the floor?
- If not, what is your message to New Yorkers who will be forced to address this crisis without federal aid due to the House Majority’s intransigence?
If at any point you and your colleagues are ready to stop grandstanding and work collaboratively on a serious solution, I assure you this administration is willing to work with you. We urge you to use the power entrusted to you by the residents of your districts to do what is right and take immediate action to solve this border crisis.
Director of State Operations and Infrastructure