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Undocumented migrants in NYC turn to off-the-books jobs amidst immigration limbo

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In a startling revelation, a significant number of undocumented migrants in New York City are turning to off-the-books jobs to sustain themselves as they navigate the complex immigration system.

According to interviews conducted by The Post, a staggering 65% of migrants engaged in unregulated employment, while city officials often turn a blind eye to the situation.

Over the course of five days, The Post spoke with 36 migrants who had entered the city illegally. Shockingly, only approximately 800 out of 40,000 adult migrants housed in the five boroughs have applied for federal work permits, with just one person among those interviewed having initiated the process.

For many newly arriving migrants, who number around 60,000 and continue to rely on city resources, these illegal gigs have become an appealing alternative to the arduous and expensive process of officially seeking asylum, which is a prerequisite for legal employment. However, these underground jobs contribute no payroll taxes or other benefits to alleviate the financial burden on the city, with taxpayers reportedly footing a staggering $40,000 per migrant, as per The Post’s recent data analysis.

One example is Hernandez, a migrant residing at the converted Paul Hotel in Manhattan, who now works as an Uber Eats driver to support his family in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Although he hasn’t applied for asylum or a work permit, his commitment to his family drives him to work off the books for five days a week, eight hours a day.

Similarly, Maria, a 19-year-old migrant from Ecuador, arrived in New York with her husband and 3-year-old son and has resorted to selling bottled water and soft drinks in Central Park, earning approximately $50 per day. Homeless and unaware of how to apply for a work permit, she struggles to make ends meet.

The dire situation extends to other migrants as well, such as a Romanian immigrant seen begging for change at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue while holding her baby, who admitted to being undocumented and unable to secure formal employment after just two months in the city.

As these undocumented migrants seek means of survival in the shadows of New York City, questions arise about the effectiveness of the current immigration system and its impact on both the migrants and the city’s taxpayers.

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