Texas governor sends migrants to New York Metropolis as immigration standoff accelerates

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 (Reuters) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said Friday he had begun sending buses carrying migrants to New York City to pass responsibility for frontier workers to Democratic Mayor and U.S. President Joe Biden transferred to. a democrat.

The first bus arrived at the Port Authority bus terminal in midtown Manhattan early Friday, carrying about 50 migrants from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Venezuela. Volunteers helped direct people who had no relatives in the city to city resources.

“Most of them have no one to help them. They don’t know where to go, so we’re taking them to shelters,” said a volunteer at the bus station, Evelin Zapata, from a group called Grannies Respond.

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A Colombian family of four who ended up in a shelter for the homeless in the Bronx wasn’t sure where they would spend the night. Byron and Leidy, both 28, said they left the state capital Bogota because they were having trouble finding work. They did not give their last name.

“It’s a bit easier now to enter the country, before it was very difficult to come here with children,” said Leidy, who was traveling with her children Mariana, 7, and Nicolas, 13. She said the family hoped someone they knew in New York would take her in, but that plan didn’t pan out. “We came here because they said they would help us find a place to sleep so we didn’t have to stay on the street,” Leidy said.

Abbott, who is running for a third term as governor in November’s election, has already sent more than 6,000 migrants to Washington since April to fight illegal immigration and call out Biden for his friendlier policies. Continue reading

Biden took office in January 2021 and vowed to reverse many of the harsh immigration policies of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump, but some efforts have been blocked in court.

Abbott said New York City Mayor Eric Adams can provide services and housing for the newcomers.

“I hope he keeps his promise to welcome all migrants with open arms so our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief,” Abbott said in a statement.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, another Republican, has followed Abbott’s example and brought another 1,000 buses to Washington.

US border enforcement has seen a record number of arrests under Biden, though many are repeat offenders. Some migrants who cannot be quickly deported to Mexico or their home countries under COVID-era policies are allowed to enter the United States, often to file asylum applications in a US immigration court.

“POLITICAL PEASANTS”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott holds a news conference with state and local officials at Uvalde High School three days after a gunman killed nineteen children and two adults in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 1 May 27, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

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Adams’ office has in recent weeks criticized bus efforts to Washington, saying some migrants were making their way to New York City and overwhelming the homeless shelter system.

On Friday, Mayor’s press secretary Fabien Levy said Abbott was using “people as political pawns” and called it “a disgusting and embarrassing stain on the state of Texas.”

Levy said New York will “continue to welcome asylum seekers with open arms, as we have always done, but we are asking for resources to help,” and called for assistance from federal officials.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday called the Texas initiative “shameful” and an unnecessary burden on taxpayers in that state.

The effort cost $1.6 million in April and May, a local NBC News affiliate reported in June, more than $1,400 per driver.

Texas officials declined to give the cost when asked by Reuters.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser also said her city’s housing system has been strained by the arrival of migrants, and last month urged the Biden administration to deploy military troops to help house the migrants, a request that was met Frustrated White House officials. Continue reading

A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin turned down a request for the DC National Guard to help transport and receive migrants in the city because it would hamper the troops’ readiness .

Bowser on Friday proposed making a more targeted troop request, reiterating her stance that the federal government should deal with what she called a “growing humanitarian crisis.”

“If the federal government doesn’t do it, they have to at least get out of our way and give us the resources we need,” she told reporters.

Many migrants arrive after long and difficult journeys through South America.

Venezuelan migrant Jose Gregorio Forero said he crossed eight countries before traveling more than a day by bus from Texas. “It took 31 days to get here, walk and ask for rides,” he said, saying he was glad to be in New York, where he thought there would be more job opportunities.

New York City, he said, “is very beautiful. I love it.”

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Reporting by Sofia Ahmed in New York and Ted Hesson in Washington; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali and Jeff Mason in Washington, Roselle Chen and Dan Fastenberg in New York; Edited by Mica Rosenberg and Daniel Wallis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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