Longtime migrant workers are disgruntled with new waves of arrivals to New York City who they say are undercutting them — claiming anyone hiring them should “get the f—k out of here”.
City data shows over 116,000 migrants have flocked to the Big Apple since last spring and most are making ends meet working in the illegal underground economy — many while still living rent-free at taxpayer-funded hotels and shelters, as the New York Post exclusively revealed.
This poses a problem for more established migrants who have been working cash-in-hand for years.
They say newcomers accept next-to-nothing for work such as painting and concreting, driving down their own earning potential.
A tradesman known as “Parrow” who described himself as an “old timer” said he has been going to the Home Depot on Merrick Boulevard in Queens to pick up construction, plumbing and home improvement work for “20 plus years” but is now struggling.
“Yes, man,” he said right away when asked if migrants were taking jobs away from people like him.
“If you can get the work cheaper you are going to use those guys. You are not going to pay $200 when you can get [for] $40. Anything you give them, they’ll take it.
“I’m an old guy…get the f—k out of here. I’m not taking it.”
Around 50 people milled about the parking lot of the Home Depot on Tuesday looking for work and eagerly approaching any trucks or vans which drove up and looked like they needed a hand.
Oscar Irias, 38, from Honduras, is staying in a shelter in Astoria. He crossed the border three years ago and previously lived in Florida before moving to New York in June.
“I can get $250 for the day because I can do masonry, sheet racks, painting…but there are times I go for $100 because there is no work.
“They don’t always give us lunch — nothing to eat or drink. We buy food.
“They are taking advantage of us because we don’t have our papers. I wouldn’t do it if I had my papers. I would have my own job in a company.
“I was in Florida before I came here but [Gov. Ron] DeSantis said he didn’t want any undocumented people there so I came to New York.
“I filed for asylum but I don’t have money to pay a lawyer. I don’t know what I am going to do.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul celebrated victory Thursday after the Department of Homeland Security announced migrants from Venezuela will now be eligible to apply for work permits straight away rather than waiting six months, as federal law requires of most asylum seekers.
However, any migrants who entered the US through the CBP One app were already able to apply for work permits right away as they are on a different scheme known as parole.
Despite this, applications for work permits have been slow and city said this week only around 800 people out of more than 100,000 who have come through the city have applied for them.
Of 36 migrants who spoke to The Post this week, only one had applied for a work permit. Most said they were happy with the easier arrangement of working off the books.
Another old timer who has been picking up work from parking lots for four years accused hiring managers and contractors of taking advantage of the undocumented migrants.
According to him, one man offered to pay just $50 for the day to pour concrete.
“I wouldn’t do that for less than $300,” he said.
“The new ones, they don’t know any better so they take anything. Me, I’m not doing that. I’m not going for $100 or $150. That’s not right.”
Around 14,000 migrants are still arriving in New York each month, which city leaders have warned is stretching the city to breaking point, and noting the city has run out of space to house people after opening some 200 shelters acros the five boroughs.
Mayor Eric Adams has estimated the crisis will cost the city $12 billion by July 2025.