NEW YORK — A federal spending bill will direct $800 million to cities like New York struggling to provide for thousands of migrants arriving from the southern border.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer negotiated the money as part of a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill expected to pass by the end of the week, according to a person close to Schumer.
The money will be allocated to FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter humanitarian program for jurisdictions that have dealt with an influx of asylum seekers. It can pay the cost of shelter, food, transportation, basic health and first aid, Covid-19 testing and other supportive services to asylum seekers, including the construction and expansion of shelters.
It will be awarded through competitive grants that cities can apply for. Other municipalities like Washington, D.C., and Chicago have also received significant numbers of migrants.
New York City is expected to get a “substantial share” of the money, according to the person close to Schumer, who said the senator has already talked to FEMA about making sure New York gets a large chunk of the aid.
Mayor Eric Adams has been pleading for federal help to aid the 31,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in the city this year. New York City is expecting 1,000 more people a week to arrive when a federal restriction known as Title 42, which prohibited many asylum seekers from entering the country on public health grounds, expires. The rule had been scheduled to lift on Wednesday but was paused by the U.S. Supreme Court.
He welcomed the news in a statement Tuesday.
“We’re encouraged by the news of hundreds of millions in additional federal funding to support asylum seekers and look forward to receiving the resources we need here in New York City,” Adams said.
“With over 800 people arriving in the past four days alone, it’s clear that we still need a comprehensive strategy at our border and additional resources. We cannot be put in a position where we have to choose between services for New Yorkers and supporting arriving asylum seekers. Thank you to Senator Schumer, incoming Minority Leader [Hakeem] Jeffries, and our entire federal delegation for advocating so New York City gets the help we need and stepping up to address this crisis,” Adams said.
The $800 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter program represents a 433 percent increase from the $150 million allocated to it last year.