Adams slams Texas Gov. Abbott for sending first bus of migrants directly to the city

Mayor Eric Adams provides an update on the situation regarding asylum seekers coming to New York City. City Hall. Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Photo courtesy of Violet Mendelsund/Mayoral Photography Office

In an ongoing tit-for-tat between Mayor Eric Adams and Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Adams’ administration decried Abbott’s announcement Friday that the first bus of migrants sent directly from Texas arrived in the Big Apple.

In an emailed statement to PoliticsNY, Adams’ Press Secretary Fabien Levy said the revelation is proof of “what we’ve known he’s been doing all along.”

“Governor Abbott is finally admitting to what we’ve known he’s been doing all along,” Levy said. “His continued use of human beings as political pawns is disgusting, and an embarrassing stain on the state of Texas. New York will continue to welcome asylum seekers with open arms, as we have always have.”

While this is the first time Abbott announced sending asylum seekers directly to the city, he’s been publicizing his practice of bussing migrants out of Texas to states more friendly to immigrants since April. 

When Adams first began drawing attention to the influx of immigrants to the city late last month, he claimed in a July 19 letter to the White House – asking for additional resources to deal with the crisis – that Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey were bussing asylum seekers directly to the city. But the two GOP governor’s pushed back, saying they were only sending migrants to Washington D.C. and that the federal government was responsible for bussing them to New York.

Levy also called on the federal government to crack down on states like Texas and Arizona for this practice.

“We need Washington DC’s assistance in dealing with the cruel political games being played by inept politicians like the governor of Texas,” Levy said.

According to Levy, the Mayor’s office is still trying to ascertain how many migrants arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal Friday morning.

A source close to the mayor’s office said they weren’t given a heads up about the bus’s arrival, but there may have been organizations and volunteers – who were told in advance – on hand, to help the migrants disembark when they arrived at the Port Authority.

In recent weeks, Adams has blamed the city’s swelling homeless shelter population on an influx of migrants arriving in New York from border states. New York’s “right to shelter” policy legally requires it to provide shelter to the roughly 4,000 migrants Adams’ administration says have arrived here since May.

Advocates for the homeless, however, have pushed back on Adams’ narrative that the recent increase in asylum seekers coming to the city is the sole reason why the shelters are overwhelmed. Instead, they say, there’s a number of other contributing factors like the city’s lack of affordable housing, staffing shortages and landlords not accepting vouchers for permanent housing.

The City Council is holding a hearing next Tuesday on Adams’ handling of the current crisis and the homeless shelter system overall.

In a release, Abbott said New York City’s legal obligation to accept migrants – who he insists are overwhelming border towns in his state – is exactly why he’s bussing them to the city. The Texas governor also blamed President Joe Biden’s administration for the current influx of immigrants from across the Mexican border into his state, saying the White House needs stricter immigration policies.

“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,” Abbott said. “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.”

Abbott said the city “will now be a drop-off location for the busing strategy,” in addition to Washington D.C., meaning today’s bus could very well be the first of many sent from Texas to New York.

Earlier this week, Abbott invited Adams and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to see the “dire situation” at the southern border. Adams rejected the overture, saying Abbott was just looking for a “photo-up at the border.”

In a statement, New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Murad Awawdeh decried Abbott sending the bus of immigrants to the city as a publicity stunt. And he reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to working with Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul and the City Council to accommodate those seeking shelter here.

“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 for it. 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,” Awawdeh said.

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,” he added.