In Brief

Gov. Murphy among Democrats asking Biden, Congress for migrant aid

By: - January 23, 2024 10:59 am

Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul are among the governors asking the Biden administration and Congress for aid for migrants. (Don Pollard/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

Gov. Phil Murphy and eight other Democratic governors asked the White House and congressional leaders Monday for federal aid so states and cities can handle an influx of migrants sent from the southern border.

In the letter, the governors, including New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, ask Congress to take swift action to pass a comprehensive border security and immigration legislative package. They want federal policymakers to “work together to solve what has become a humanitarian crisis.”

The governors criticize Congress for their “lack of action” and note that President Joe Biden’s request for funds for border security has failed to muster legislative support. That money could fund additional staffing to speed up processing times for asylum seekers who qualify to stay in the United States and removal proceedings for those found ineligible. 

Now, the governors say, Congress must “quickly negotiate an agreement.” 

“While political motivations continue to delay the negotiations, our economy, states and localities are bearing the brunt of the shortcomings of the existing immigration system,” the letter says.

Among the requests, the governors ask for coordination at the southern and northern border, federal funding for states and cities receiving new arrivals, and a “serious commitment” to modernizing the American immigration system. 

“Without serious reform informed by evidence-based solutions, the challenges facing states and localities will only grow,” they said. 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Migrants arriving in the northeast region have been bused here by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who said Democrats who support Biden’s immigration policies should deal with the migrants who have “overrun and overwhelmed” the southern border.

About 170,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since last spring, according to the New York Times. The city’s mayor, Eric Adams, says it has cost the city $4.3 billion to support migrant shelter and services in the last two years.

In December and early January, about 1,000 migrants passed through New Jersey on their way to New York City to circumvent the city’s new drop-off regulations. Murphy has said most of them traveled onto New York City.

Govs. Katie Hobbs of Arizona, Gavin Newsom of California, Wes Moore of Maryland, Jared Polis of Colorado, and Maura Healey of Massachusetts are co-signers on Monday’s letter.

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz
Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for NJ.com, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.

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