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Amid Migrant Surge in NYC, Residents Say More Work Permits Are the Solution

Federal law places restrictions on how soon illegal aliens can obtain work permits

As the migrant surge in New York City forces local officials to take drastic action at a cost projected to exceed $12 billion, city residents are calling for officials to give migrants work permits.

A new poll commissioned by Tusk Philanthropies shows that 74 percent of voters on Long Island and 76 percent of voters in upstate districts support work permits so migrants can provide for themselves, which they say will reduce the burden on taxpayers.

Additionally, 71 percent and 67 percent of voters on Long Island and in upstate districts, respectively, believe that allowing illegal aliens to take jobs in understaffed industries, such as healthcare and hospitality, would benefit New York’s economy.

“Finally we have some data to support what common-sense folks have been saying: that people should be welcomed and employed as soon as possible to enhance their financial independence and to strengthen the economy of the city, state, and nation — which has, throughout history, been built by our newest arrivals,” Ruth Messinger, former Manhattan Borough President, said in a statement from Tusk announcing the survey results.

“The President, our Governor, and Mayor should be doing everything they can to expedite work authorizations,” she added.

The survey results show that more than half disapprove of how New York City Mayor Eric Adams has handled the situation, while two-thirds disapprove of how Gov. Kathy Hochul has handled the crisis.

Hochul recently criticized the Biden administration for not doing enough to help migrants receive work authorizations.

Under federal law, as The New York Times reported, migrants are required to wait roughly six months after filing an asylum application before they can apply for permission to work in the U.S. legally.

There is somewhat of a consensus on the matter, as 63 percent of registered Republicans on Long Island and 58 percent of registered Republicans in upstate districts support the proposal. Nearly 60 percent of Long Island and upstate voters who support former President Donald Trump say they also support migrant work permits.

“In July, I called for creating a New York work permit for migrants if Washington won’t take action. Now more than 113,300 migrants have arrived, New York City taxpayers are still on the hook, and the very voters who will decide control of congress are angry,” Bradley Tusk, founder of Tusk Philanthropies, said in the statement.

“Enough is enough. Work permits for migrants are a solution that’s not only common-sense, but also politically popular,” he added. “If Washington won’t do anything here, Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams should step up to the plate and issue their own work permits, knowing that New Yorkers have their backs.”

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