New York, NY — A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor underscored how New York leaders and experts agree that expanding work authorization programs for migrants and asylum seekers can address labor shortages and bolsters New York’s economy.
The CSM article reports that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul argues that migrants arriving in New York could help fill thousands of open jobs. “We have all these people who want to be here. I have all these jobs that are open. You marry the two together, and you’ve solved the problems,” she said.
The article highlights the hard work of migrants who are filling positions and working multiple jobs. Reporting on the experience of one migrant, Rosanny, a Venezuelan doctor, the article notes that she will “take small-scale jobs, attend English class, and do whatever is necessary for a better life.”
“From the first day migrants and asylum seekers arrive in New York, they want to get to work. Supporting new arrivals and expanding work authorizations would help them to get back on their feet and on the path to self-sufficiency, while growing our local economy. The solutions here are clear: we need action from state and federal leaders to strengthen support and legal services for migrants in our communities across the state, expand work authorizations, and protect asylum,” said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition.
Read highlights below:
Can the staggering number of migrants arriving in New York help to fill thousands of open jobs in the region?
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul argues yes. “We have all these people who want to be here. I have all these jobs that are open. You marry the two together, and you’ve solved the problems,” she said last fall while announcing job openings for qualified migrants.
Yet today’s migrants, many of whom are asylum-seekers, can access support systems not offered just a few years ago. Nonprofits, volunteers, and city and federal agencies offer paperwork assistance, legal help, English lessons, settlement, and job advice. Demand, however, far outstrips resources.
State officials also are working to identify private-sector job opportunities for migrants. Governor Hochul announced in October that the state had secured some 18,000 jobs for authorized workers in various industries; by December, the state Department of Labor listed nearly 40,000 job openings for eligible migrants. Some states – such as Illinois, Indiana, and Utah – want permission from Washington to sponsor migrants to fill critical job openings.
While some individuals crossing into America may not want to work, the vast majority are so determined that they’re willing to walk the almost 3,000 miles to get here, says Anna Hidalgo, a faculty fellow in sociology at New York University who studies Venezuelan migrants in New York City.
“If you have the gumption to cross the Darién Strait, to make that journey, you are cut from a different cloth. You are someone who is going to do what it takes to move forward to a better life for you and your children and your family, which is all these folks talk about,” she says.
Rosanny, the Venezuelan doctor, anticipates a 150-day wait for her work authorization to arrive. Until then, she’ll take small-scale jobs, attend English class, and do whatever is necessary for a better life.
“I’m very grateful,” she says. “I understand the American dream isn’t just to come here. It takes action to make it happen. I have to be creative.”