The Biden administration thinks it has a solution to two pressing problems in New York City. With one fell swoop of the pen, tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants are suddenly part of the workforce. Here is the full story.
They’re Flooding In
In recent months, New York City has seen the number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees swell as part of the ongoing exodus from the politically volatile country.
A Triple Challenge
Beyond just straining the city’s infrastructure and adding to an already crowded urban setting, the migrants also presented a financial challenge.
Not Allowed to Work
By mid-September of 2023, there were about 60,000 Venezuelans in NYC who were in the care of the state because they were not permitted to work legally in the state.
A Worker Shortage
At the same time, New York, like most states and cities, faces a shortage of workers in many industries.
Chief among those are healthcare and construction.
A Marriage Made in Heaven?
But on September 20, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas took one major step toward alleviating both problems.
A Brand New Status
Specifically, Mayorkas granted the right to apply for temporary protected status, or TPS, to Venezuelan migrants for 18 months, according to a Politico report.
Biden Is Watching Venezuela
According to the senior Biden official who made the announcement, the move came after a review of current conditions in Venezuela.
They Can Work, Too
The double-duty benefit comes from the fact that those Venezuelan refugees can now also apply for work permits.
A Huge Boost
That could boost the American workforce by nearly 500,000 workers nationwide. In New York alone, the number is about 60,000, according to the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC).
On the Job in a Jiffy
The NYIC says that these migrants should be able to get quick approval to work, which could provide a big boost to local economies.
A Widespread Problem
The move by the Biden administration to extend working rights to migrants from troubled countries has received widespread support from government officials across the country.
Biden Feeling the Pressure
Sometimes, as in the case of New York, that support might be better categorized as “pressure.”
They’re Double-Teaming the President
Both New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul have been in close contact with the White House on this issue as the migrant counts have grown.
She Pressed Hard
After the announcement, Hochul applauded the move and cited her “productive conversation with President Biden” the night before as an impetus for the quick action.
He Wants More
For his part, Adams hopes adding Venezuelans to the workforce is just the beginning.
Treat Them All the Same
In a statement released by the mayor’s office after the Biden administration’s announcement, Adams said he wants the same treatment for “tens of thousands of other migrants in our care from other countries.”
The Clock Is Ticking
Whether that comes to pass, and how quickly it might happen, probably depends on continued review by Mayorkas and other officials.
Congress Speaks Up
But this issue also has support from the congress, at least on the Democrat side of the aisle.
Democrats Love the Move
In a joint statement, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries applauded the decision to allow Venezuelans to work while they await an asylum decision.
A Bigger Problem
Even with that support from top Dems, who are also New Yorkers, another Biden official says that congress needs to step up to fix the core problem.
Broken Policies to Blame
The official noted that, while Biden can make TPS determinations on his own, only sweeping changes to immigration policies can prevent bottlenecks like this in the future.
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The post Biden Wants to Put Thousands of Venezuelan Refugees to Work in New York first appeared on Career Step Up.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock /Fred Duval. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.