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Mayor Adams: Biden administration's decision to allow Venezuelan asylum seekers to work in U.S. is not enough

Mayor Adams says White House allowing Venezuelan asylum seekers to work is not enough
Mayor Adams says White House allowing Venezuelan asylum seekers to work is not enough 02:50

NEW YORK -- The city is finally getting some much-needed help from the White House in allowing asylum seekers to work here legally.

However, Mayor Eric Adams says it's simply not enough, because tens of thousands in the city's care don't qualify.

When you first heard the announcement that the Biden administration will allow half a million Venezuelan asylum seekers to work in the United States, you probably thought New York City's problems are over.

But the mayor says the move, while appreciated, is far away from the goal line.

"We don't want to prematurely spike the ball," Adams said Thursday.

READ MOREGov. Kathy Hochul says President Joe Biden "has heard me loud and clear" on asylum seeker crisis

It was not that the mayor wanted to look a gift horse in the mouth. He said he appreciates President Joe Biden's decision to allow Venezuelan asylum seekers who arrived here before July 31 to apply for temporary protective status -- TPS -- and work permits. But an end zone celebration of a touchdown score is not in the cards in New York City, he said, because the numbers don't add up.

"We have approximately 60,000 total asylum seekers in our care, approximately 60,000. Three quarters are not eligible for the announcement made last night," Adams said.

Mayor Adams reacts to Biden administration's asylum seeker announcement 07:12

The mayor said that when you subtract the migrants from other countries, like Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Mauritania, Russia, Senegal, Turkey, and the Venezuelans who are under 18 and can't legally work in New York City, "We're not gong to have 4-year-olds going to do a job in this city."

There are 9,500 who can get work permits and, hopefully, earn enough to move out of the shelters.

But even if they do move out, their spots will be quickly filled by the asylum seekers who continue to arrive.

"We are getting 10,000 a month, that are coming into the city," Adams said.

He called on the president and Congress to recognize the city's ongoing plight and do more.

"The way the incoming continues and the number who are here already, there must be a national response to that," Adams said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said she would allocate $30 million to help the Venezuelan asylum seekers file their papers. She said she supports the president's decision to set a cut-off date. Venezuelans who came here after July 31 won't get TPS.

"That will eliminate any ripple effect that will draw more people to our country," Hochul said.

But on Staten Island, elected officials continue to protest the mayor's decision to open shelters in the borough and the lack of a federal solution.

"The great betrayer of the whole migrant narrative of this crisis is, of course, our president, who betrayed his oath by failing to secure the border," City Councilman David Carr said.

The mayor will continue to defend the need to cut the budget to deal with the crisis unless he gets enough state and federal aid to prevent painful cuts to city services.

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