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Hochul, New York Republicans, trade barbs over border security

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(The Center Square) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is feuding with GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation over the migrant crisis, calling on them to support a bipartisan Senate border security proposal that emerged over the weekend.

Responding to a letter from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and other New York Republicans criticizing the Democrat on immigration reforms, Hochul’s director of operations Kathryn Garcia accused the lawmakers of taking “no action to help address this national crisis” and for waiting “until this past week to even reach out to our Administration and express your concerns.”

“The United States Constitution clearly assigns responsibility for federal legislative action to the United States Congress, the body in which you all currently serve,” she wrote. “Though Governor Hochul has spent months calling for significant federal aid, thus far you and your colleagues in the House Majority have refused to deliver.”

Garcia argued that the number of migrant encounters along the southern border “dwarfs those at the northern border” and claimed the majority of those encountered at the northern border are “deemed inadmissible” by customs enforcement. She asked the House GOP lawmakers if they plan to back the Senate’s bipartisan immigration plan.

“If at any point you and your colleagues are ready to stop grandstanding and work collaboratively on a serious solution, I assure you this administration is willing to work with you,” she wrote. “We urge you to use the power entrusted to you by the residents of your districts to do what is right and take immediate action to solve this border crisis.”

Stefank, who wrote the previous letter to Hochul, fired back at the governor over her response, saying she has “rolled out the red carpet for illegals in New York” and is now “begging the media to forget.”

“Does Kathy Hochul think New Yorkers are stupid?” Stefanik posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “It’s offensive that Kathy Hochul is parroting the desperate talking points of the beleaguered Joe Biden attempting to pass the buck and blame the Biden Border Crisis on anyone but themselves.”

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-NY, called Hochul’s response “ridiculous” and criticized her for being “unresponsive” to GOP concerns about the crisis at the southern border “as well as New York’s disastrous response to it, its sanctuary state and city policies.”

“Not only was she unresponsive for long periods of time, she did nothing to stop the insanity and worse, is using billions of taxpayer money to provide free housing, healthcare, education, clothing, and food to illegal immigrants while NYers are struggling to make ends meet,” he said in a statement.

The GOP lawmaker’s letter called on Hochul to join 25 governors pledging support to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s efforts to secure the Mexican border amid a historic surge of asylum seekers.

New York has seen more than 170,000 asylum seekers arrive over the past year amid a historic surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border. The state has spent an estimated $2 billion caring for tens of thousands of migrants.

After news of the Senate’s draft immigration plan emerged on Sunday, Hochul issued a statement praising the compromise bill and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York for helping craft the legislation. She said it would “speed up the asylum process at the border and raise the standards for seeking asylum in this country.”

“We have no time to waste,” she said. “Now, every member of the New York delegation — especially those in the House majority — must step up and publicly support this compromise. Those who fail to do so are leaving New Yorkers behind.”

Despite the wrangling, the outcome of the Senate’s plan remains uncertain, with House Speaker Mike Johnson saying it was “dead on arrival” in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

“I’ve seen enough,” Johnson posted on social media. “This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created.”