NEW YORK (NewsNation) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent buses of migrants to New York City over the weekend in what New York Mayor Eric Adams claims is “forced” busing from the Lone Star State.
“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,” Abbott said in a statement.
The first bus arrived Friday at the city’s Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan carrying around 50 migrants from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras and Venezuela. Volunteers were helping to steer people who had no relatives in town to city resources.
“It’s unimaginable what the governor of Texas has done. Our goal is to immediately find out each family’s need,” said Adams.
Abbott claims his state can no longer bear the responsibility of caring for migrants. He said Adams could provide services and housing for the new arrivals.
“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,” Abbott said.
Biden came into office in January 2021 pledging to reverse many of the hardline immigration policies of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump, but some efforts have been blocked in court.
Abbott has already sent more than 6,000 migrants to Washington since April in a broader effort to combat illegal immigration and call out Biden for his more welcoming policies.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Murial Bowser requested the National Guard come in to help handle what she calls a “growing humanitarian crisis.” The Pentagon declined that request.
“If the federal government’s not going to do it, they need to at least get out of our way and give us the resources that we need,” she told reporters.
“We may send an amended request,” Bowser said.
Adams and Bowser criticized the busing efforts, saying the new asylum seekers have created a severe strain on their cities’ homeless shelter system. They’re asking for federal resources because they know more buses are on the way.
“They’re not letting us know what time the buses are leaving,” Adams said. “They’re not letting us know the needs of the people on the bus. they’re not giving us any information.”
On Friday, Adams’ 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.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday called the Texas initiative “shameful” and an unnecessary burden on taxpayers in that state.
Costs for the effort amounted to $1.6 million in April and May, a local NBC News affiliate reported in June, more than $1,400 per rider.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has followed Abbott’s lead and bused another 1,000 to Washington.
U.S. border authorities have made record numbers of arrests under Biden, although many are repeat crossers. Some migrants who are not able to be expelled quickly to Mexico or their home countries under a COVID-era policy are allowed into the United States, often to pursue asylum claims in U.S. immigration court.
Adams says they will find a way to accommodate and support anyone who wants to stay.
Abbott invited the mayors of New York City and D.C. to take a tour of the border but both have declined.
Reuters contributed to this report.