Biden officials point finger at work visa delays for New York migrant workers — while Adams warns of consequences of sex trafficking

The Biden administration on Tuesday shifted blame for delays in work visas for migrant workers to Congress – as Big Apple Mayor Eric Adams warned that unemployed asylum seekers are being forced into the sex trade locally.

Instead of coming up with a new plan to ease the escalating refugee crisis crippling Gotham, White House officials have simply rehashed their previous supposed solutions — and dodged responsibility even further by suggesting that the private sector step in to help to help with their work.

Biden officials, in an asylum-seeker briefing with New York media outlets, pointed the finger at Congress for failing to take action to implement comprehensive immigration reform to expand work permits for the tens of thousands of migrants currently in the Big Apple. to accelerate .

Under current U.S. immigration laws, migrants cannot receive work permits until 180 days after submitting their asylum application — resulting in delays of about seven to eight months before they can be legally employed.

Migrants line up in front of the ICE office in New York
A long line of migrants forms in front of the ICE processing office at 26 Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan.
Seth Gottfried

Biden officials said during the briefing that the federal Department of Homeland Security will continue its efforts to ensure migrants understand their eligibility to apply for work permits.

Federal officials also suggested ways the private sector could intervene — including requiring companies to offer pro-bono legal services and use promotional resources to inform asylum seekers about applying for the permits.

Adams has been adamant about urging President Biden and the federal government to speed up approvals, insisting that the influx of migrants into the city will “destroy” the Big Apple.

Hizzoner warned on Tuesday that a “black market” for migrant workers was already emerging across the city due to the long delays.

“Now people are working. So we created a black market for employment, low wages and women were sexually exploited. Workers were treated unfairly,” Adams told CBS “Eyewitness News Morning.”

President Biden
Biden administration officials reiterated previous purported solutions to the issue of migrant worker visas during an asylum-seeker briefing with New York media outlets Tuesday morning.

“So you’re seeing an increase in prostitution in the city because people have to provide for their families, and that’s really going to impact the quality of life in our city,” he said.

Adams argued that the migrants could help fill current labor shortages across the city.

“That’s the irony of it. As if we needed lifeguards in the summer. Yes, we could have filled these positions. We need different levels of employment,” Adams told the outlet.

“So we’re hoping that the federal government will look at what we’re seeing and put it into action, because I can’t break the law and say, ‘I’m still going to allow you to work,'” he said.

Migrants in the port authority
Migrants and their families wait on the street after being taken by bus to the Manhattan Port Authority terminal.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul claimed earlier this month that the administration had committed to sending DHS employees to the city to help process asylum applications.

The governor said she called for a “high number” of DHS employees in a meeting with White House officials.

Officials did not mention that plan during Tuesday’s briefing, and it remained unclear when and how many federal workers would be sent to the Big Apple.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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