Gov. Kathy Hochul suggested Thursday the Empire State could use more migrant labor while dismissing suggestions that sanctuary city protections have anything to do with a growing crisis along the US border that has seen busloads of asylum seekers flood New York City.
“I just did a farm tour upstate New York. They’re begging for workers,” Hochul told reporters in Albany on Thursday after promoting state efforts to boost semiconductor manufacturing.
“I walked the streets of Manhattan, I walked the streets of Albany — there’s help-wanted signs everywhere. We are a smart, thoughtful country, and can put aside everybody’s passions around this and say: ‘This is actually good for our economy,’” she insisted.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has blamed immigrant-friendly policies in blue states like New York for driving migrants to his border towns — a situation he is now rectifying by sending busloads of migrants to Democrat-dominated places like New York City.
The influx of migrants — many of whom are reportedly pursuing political asylum in the US — to the city has strained social services as Mayor Eric Adams and officials scramble to provide shelter for the newcomers as required by law.
Adams has pushed back against Abbott and threatened to campaign against him in the Texas conservative’s increasingly contentious race against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke.
“Make my day,” Abbott replied to Adams while mustering his best “Dirty Harry” impression.
New York Republicans like Rep. Lee Zeldin, the GOP nominee for governor, have said the time has even come for Albany Democrats to reevaluate programs like subsidized health care for immigrants in order to slow the migrant flow, which conservatives blame for attracting people to cross the border illegally.
“You must end the transportation of illegal immigrants into our state, permit and encourage more coordination and cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, and repeal problematic incentives that reward illegal entry,” reads an Aug. 9 letter to Hochul from Zeldin and other Republican members of the state congressional delegation.
The state has provided some assistance to city efforts to accommodate the migrants by setting up a welcome center at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown, Hochul said earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Hochul, pouring gas on the fire, is urging President Biden and federal officials to overhaul the immigration system to make it easier for non-citizens to access jobs in New York while downplaying any role the Empire State might have in attracting people to cross the border in the first place.
“I’m not sure they’re coming into Texas because of what we’re doing here in New York,” Hochul said Thursday.