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Joe Anuta

New York City to get $104.6M from FEMA for asylum-seekers

New York City is projecting $4.3 billion in asylum-seeker costs through next summer — an estimate that is likely to increase. | Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
UPDATED: 07 JUN 2023 03:27 PM EST

NEW YORK — New York City is set to receive $104.6 million in federal funds to help cover the cost of providing services to asylum-seekers, two of the state’s highest ranking elected officials said Wednesday.

The injection of cash comes as more than 72,000 migrants have passed through the city since last spring, with more than 44,000 currently in the city’s care.

“Today’s funds represent a strong step in the right direction — which better recognizes and rewards New York City’s unique challenge,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement. “There is more work ahead between both Houses of Congress that requires cooperation from and partnership with the GOP to produce the resources and policies our localities and state need to deal with this national issue.”

The pot of money is the second from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and sharply contradicts expectations from top officials in the administration of New York City Mayor Eric Adams about how much the city would be receiving.

In early May the Department of Homeland Security, which includes FEMA, announced a $332.5 million allocation that largely went to communities along the southern border. New York City received around $30 million — which drew outrage from the Adams administration — but was promised a larger share of money in a forthcoming second tranche of cash expected to total roughly $363 million.

Last week, New York City Budget Director Jacques Jiha said the city was expecting no more than 10 percent of that second pot of money, which would make it more difficult to balance the municipal budget. The city is projecting $4.3 billion in asylum-seeker costs through next summer — an estimate that is likely to increase.

The city’s $104.6 allocation through the new federal Shelter and Services Program, however, constitutes around 30 percent of the money announced Wednesday and is much larger than payments to other cities. A person with knowledge of the allocations told POLITICO San Diego would be receiving $15 million and Chicago $10 million.

“Today’s $104.6 million in funds is the largest share of the federal dollars released via the new Shelter Services Program we created and will defray a critical portion of the City’s asylee-related costs,” Schumer and Jeffries said in the statement. “New York City continues to be disproportionally challenged by an influx of asylum seekers and it will take an all-hands-on-deck, every-level-of-government approach to solve.”

The mayor praised the work of the two electeds in a statement.

“We've already spent over $1.2 billion and expect to spend over $4.3 billion through next June, but it's clear that without the efforts of our congressional leadership, New York City would not have received additional federal funding,” Adams said. “We look forward to continuing to work with our entire congressional delegation to bring more resources and support to New York City, as well as push the federal government to expedite work authorization for asylum seekers.”

The FEMA funds were negotiated as part of the budget, according to Schumer and Jeffries, who said the city still needs additional money. They also called for expedited work authorization for asylum-seekers and for the Biden administration to broaden the eligibility for temporary protected status.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report misstated the total amount of federal funding announced Wednesday.

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