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Morning Spew

Everyone Agrees Migrants Should Be Able to Work and Yet

And some links you don't need a permit to read, for your Wednesday.

9:22 AM EDT on September 13, 2023

A NYC street scene

(Hell Gate)

While no one seems to agree on how to humanely house the tens of thousands of migrants that have come to New York in the past year, it seems New York's elected officials are finally coming together to push for one solution that they all agree on: letting migrants work. 

In recent days, Democrats in the Assembly and State Senate have introduced bills that would create a state-level work permit program, an idea that immigration advocates are throwing their support behind. And on Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul gave her imprimatur to the idea that the state would circumvent the federal government, sharing that she not only supports those bills, but that her office is also drafting its own language for a similar program. 

"I spoke about this at the White House. I said, 'I may do something at the state level. I may be having to do this.' So, we're working on language right now," Hochul said. "This would be unprecedented. And I believe the federal government would believe we have to have their authority to move forward with state work permits. But as I said, we have to let them work."

This is, unsurprisingly, not an idea that the Biden administration is behind, and experts have warned that it would all but assuredly get tied up in legal challenges. As the New York Times reported, unnamed senior administration officials said that work permits were "very clearly a federal authority," adding that workarounds were "not something that we would encourage states to pursue."

Instead, the White House is taking steps to help the City and state identify people who are already eligible to work, via an existing program that allows some migrants to sidestep the 180-day waiting period for asylum applicants. Advocates like Make the Road New York and African Communities Together have also called for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to give more people Temporary Protective Status (TPS), which would give migrants the ability to legally stay and work in the U.S—after months or even years of waiting to receive those work permits. At the same time, DHS has been less than impressed with the City's generally ad hoc, panicked handling of migrants, with one senior official telling NBC News, "It's not an operationally sound effort."

While they're being negged by the feds, it's becoming pretty obvious that New York's elected officials are getting even more impatient. "The federal government has failed to do its job, frankly," Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, one of the sponsors of a bill that would allow the state to give out work permits, told the New York Daily News. "I don't believe that we need permission."

Links you don't need a permit to read:

  • Meanwhile, some of Mayor Eric Adams's biggest allies, including Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar, held a "We <3 Eric" rally to push back against criticism that his rhetoric that migrants are destroying the city is anti-immigrant.
  • LOL?
  • Adams's former DOB commissioner Eric Ulrich is expected to turn himself in to the authorities today, and charged as part of a bribery-related inquiry. And it's not just Ulrich who's facing the music. Via the New York Times: "Among those expected to be arraigned along with Mr. Ulrich are Joseph and Anthony Livreri, brothers who own a Queens pizzeria; Michael Mazzio, who operates a Brooklyn towing company; and Mark Caller, a Brooklyn real estate developer who is expected to face charges for having offered Mr. Ulrich a discounted luxury apartment." Pizzeria? Towing company? We all know what’s happening here…
  • "Cannabis Board Paves Way for General Public to Apply to Run Stores and Farm Weed"
  • Folk hero Yenchun Chen, who escaped from DOC custody last month, was reportedly captured on Tuesday. According to the police, he spent his time as a free man couchsurfing with friends in New Jersey, Virginia, and finally Long Island City, which is not what I personally would have done but seems chill! 
  • An infuriating read on how Columbia University "ignored women, undermined prosecutors, and allowed one of its OB/GYNs to abuse hundreds of patients."
  • There was an election in Queens yesterday and the centrist Democrat won, which is better than the alternative I guess! 
  • Wow, is this the same Buffalo Bills owner that just got $1 billion in taxpayer money to build a stadium?
  • And finally:
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