On Friday, August 5, Governor Greg Abbott announced the arrival of the first group of migrants bused to New York City from Texas. The migrants are being dropped off this morning on a green bus at Port Authority Bus Terminal at Gate 14. In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City will now be a drop-off location for the busing strategy as part of the Governor’s response to the Biden Administration’s open border policies overwhelming Texas communities.
“Because of President Biden’s continued refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies, the State of Texas has had to take unprecedented action to keep our communities safe,” said Governor Abbott. “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. 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 April 2022, Governor Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to charter buses to transport over 5000 migrants from Texas to Washington, D.C. Many of the migrants have continued their journey to New York City. As a result, New York has seen an uptick of new asylum seekers who need shelter and other services in a few short months. As one of the few cities in America with the right to housing laws, New York City must provide emergency shelter for every unhoused person.
Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition:
“Texas Governor Greg Abbott continues to prove he’s a cold-hearted publicity-seeking bigot, bent on bolstering his polling numbers no matter who pays the cost. In this case, it’s vulnerable asylum seekers who have been dragged into his games of political retribution. His callousness has real consequences and hurts the individuals and families who have come to the United States fleeing persecution, violence, and climate disaster as they are lawfully entitled to do. This crisis is self-manufactured and puts vulnerable immigrant families in the crossfire. The New York Immigration Coalition will continue to work with NYS Governor Hochul, NYC Mayor Eric Adams, and the NYC City Council to ensure that everyone who makes their way to our city can transition and integrate successfully. Greg Abbott may not value the safety and well-being of newcomer immigrant families, but New York always has and always will be a welcoming city for all immigrants.”
Mayor Adam Press Secretary Fabien Levy said Abbott was using “human beings as political pawns,” calling it “a disgusting, and an embarrassing stain on the state of Texas.” Levy said New York would continue to “welcome asylum seekers with open arms, as we always have, but we are asking for resources to help do so,” calling for support from federal officials.
Manuel Castro, Commissioner of the mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, said, “Governor Greg Abbott is continuing to play with the lives of human beings. We think this is cruel, it’s disgusting and its pure cowardice.” Castro explained that some of the migrants were confused to arrive in the Big Apple and relief workers who met the buses said many had no idea they were coming to New York City.
“I spoke to another family who thought they were coming to Maryland, and in fact, their paperwork from immigration says that they were going to these destinations, but they were lied to in Texas and now they’re being sent to New York City,” Castro said.
Meanwhile, the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), along with local immigrant and civil rights partners, held a day of action across Texas border cities on Saturday, August 6. The day of action is to denounce the racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy spreading across the State of Texas fostered by Gov. Gregg Abbott’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and agenda. For the first time, multiple border cities and counties unite to condemn Gov. Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, which is responsible for the migrant deaths along the border and the misuse of Texans’ money to fund anti-immigrant policies and operations.
Gov. Abbott has been continuously attacking immigrant communities through abusive and discriminatory policies that target and criminalize vulnerable immigrants coming to the U.S. seeking safety and a better future. Gov. Abbott’s Operation Lone Star and his recent order to arrest and return migrants to the US-Mexico border completely disregard human rights laws, separate families, and violate the migrants’ and asylum seekers’ right to seek protection. These policies criminalize and incarcerate immigrants, pushing them to undertake dangerous routes to access the country, which, in many cases, lead to death, as is the case of the recent tragedy in San Antonio, Texas, where 53 migrants died in a tractor-trailer.
Immigrant advocates at the border decried these policies and the dangerous spread of invasion rhetoric, which stokes fear and resentment, dehumanizes immigrants, escalates violence, and calls for establishing humane immigration policies that welcome migrants in an orderly, just, and dignified manner.