The mayors of Chicago and Denver met with senior White House officials today to discuss the influx of migrant arrivals in their cities which are putting a tremendous strain on these cities’ limited resources. These two cities are among several grappling with vast numbers of migrant arrivals. New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, and Los Angeles are among several other metro areas struggling with a high volume of migrant arrivals.
Some Context on the Migrant Influx
In the past year, tension between the White House and its Democratic allies nationwide has grown as local officials struggle to accommodate the growing number of migrants coming through the U.S.-Mexico border. Several Democratic “blue state” cities have been calling on the White House for more concrete assistance from Biden to enable them to handle the wave of migrants seeking asylum; many say that their cities are at a breaking point. Indeed, Biden’s time in the White House has coincided with a period of record migrant arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The two mayors met today with Tom Perez, White House intergovernmental affairs director, and Jeff Zients, White House chief of staff. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who has been highly critical of the administration’s response to the particularly heavy migrant influx in New York City, was invited but unable to attend.
Federal Government Response
In New York, Biden is attempting to expedite work authorizations so that migrants who are already present would be able to get legal jobs and therefore wouldn’t be forced to rely on the social safety net.
However, according to current immigration laws, the process of applying for asylum and a work permit is long-winded, requiring a 150-day waiting period to apply for work authorization and an additional 30 days to be eligible for approval. Backlogs slow the process down even further. Biden is working with the city to expand a work authorization clinic to help migrants apply for work permits.
“Starting this week, the Biden-Harris Administration, in partnership with New York City and New York State, will be scaling operations of its first-of-its-kind work authorization clinic to help thousands of migrants living in New York’s shelter system apply for work permits,” a White House spokesperson said in a statement. “We look forward to our continued partnership with cities and states across the country and continue to call on Congress to reform our broken immigration system.”
Biden’s administration has distributed more than $1 billion in grant funding to local communities and has requested additional funding in the White House supplemental request. The Department of Homeland Security has also dispatched teams to cities to provide assistance.
Later this week, Biden will be meeting with Western hemisphere leaders to discuss issues including migration.
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