A busload of migrants arrived in New York City from Texas on Friday morning in the latest political maneuver from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has voiced objections to President Joe Biden’s border policy.
Abbott has been sending thousands of people to Washington, D.C. since April, after the Biden administration attempted to lift an emergency public health order that allowed the U.S. to deny migrants entry during the pandemic.
The first bus of migrants to New York City arrived at Port Authority Bus Terminal on Friday morning. It’s unclear why Abbott chose New York City as neither the mayor nor the City Council set federal immigration policy, but he appeared to object to New York’s status as a sanctuary city in a statement Friday.
“In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city,” Abbott said in a statement Friday. “I hope he follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief.”
In his response, Adams said he would do just that.
“Governor Abbott is finally admitting to what we’ve known he’s been doing all along. His continued use of human beings as political pawns is disgusting, and an embarrassing stain on the state of Texas,” he said.
He added, “New York will continue to welcome asylum seekers with open arms, as we always have, but we are asking for resources to help do so. We need Washington, D.C.’s assistance in dealing with the cruel political games being played by inept politicians like the governor of Texas.”
This is the latest move in the continuing scuffle between Adams and Abbott. Adams declined an invitation from Abbott earlier this week to see Texas’s southern border after faulting the governor for sending migrants to New York City and overwhelming the city’s shelter system rather than providing resources for them in his state.
The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless released a joint statement that Abbott is “exploiting these migrants” for “some myopic political purpose,” but even so, the city must be ready to meet any demand of asylum-seekers.
“New York is a sanctuary and right-to-shelter city, and the City must ensure that beds and critical services are immediately available to meet any demand,” the groups wrote in a statement.
The stunt comes during a time when the city’s shelter system is struggling to keep up with the growing number of asylum-seekers entering the city’s shelter system. Around 4,000 asylum-seekers have entered the city’s shelter system since May, according to city officials.
Earlier this week, Adams announced a slate of emergency contracts with local organizations to quickly obtain more shelter and meet the increasing demand. Last month, Adams called on the White House to provide more resources to the city’s shelter system. New York City is legally required to provide shelter to anyone who needs it.