NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday that she had a “brief” but “very productive” migrant-focused conversation with President Joe Biden one night earlier, and that the White House had requested the meeting.
But the governor, who has been publicly pushing the president for more support for migrants, declined to say if Biden had made any concrete promises to help the state. The meeting lasted about five minutes and took place at an event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said Avi Small, Hochul’s spokesman.
“It was an opportunity for me to continue to talk about ways that I believe the federal government can help New York State,” Hochul, a moderate Democrat, said at a news conference in lower Manhattan.
The governor said that she did not raise to Biden the possibility of New York issuing its own work permits to migrants, and that she would allow the federal government more time to expedite its own work paper process before attempting the extraordinary step. The White House has discouraged the state work permitting idea.
Hochul’s meeting with Biden came on the third and final night of his trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. The governor said the conversation was planned at the “last minute.”
“There was interest in the White House in having me spend time speaking to the president,” she said. “I take every opportunity I get to make my case on behalf of our state.”
Mayor Adams, who has harangued Biden over the asylum seeker crisis, has not met with Biden during the trip, the latest reflection of tension in the City Hall-White House relationship. While Adams has used harsh words in news conferences to press for more federal help, Hochul has taken a gentler posture and worked back channels, meeting with Biden’s advisors.
Three weeks ago, Hochul visited the White House to appeal for more migrant aid, emerging with what she described as much-needed but insufficient commitments to help get work papers to asylum seekers. Biden did not meet with Hochul during that visit.
Adams has indicated that he has not spoken with Biden in months. Hochul and Adams, who have had their own differences over the state’s role in supporting the asylum seekers, continue to speak frequently, both have said. Publicly, they have expressed pride in their partnership.
Adams was invited to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Tuesday night reception and to Democratic fund-raisers during Biden’s visit, Politico reported, citing people familiar with the plans. There was no indication that Biden asked for a one-on-one meeting with Adams during his trip.
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