A busload of about 50 migrants sent to New York City by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrived early Friday as the Lone Star State Republican continued his war with the White House over the its open border policies.
The migrants arrived on a chartered bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown around 6:30 a.m., with a press release from Abbott cruelly declaring that New York was now “a place travel” for people crossing the border into Texas.
Alfonso Ruiz is one of about 25 men who arrived from Texas on a military bus around 6 a.m
“The bus ride was tough. It was 36 hours from Texas,” said Ruiz, 40. “It took about two days. Stopping and yelling and stopping almost all day.”
But that was nothing compared to the two months he spent walking to the US border from Venezuela.
“I’m tired,” Ruiz said. “We all have swollen feet.”
Governor Abbott, before the bus arrived in Manhattan on Friday, had already sent thousands of migrants to Washington, DC, in an escalating political battle where Mayor Adams quickly denounced Abbott for overreaching newcomers
“This is despicable what we’re witnessing in Texas,” Adams later said at Gracie Mansion. “The governor of Texas, using human beings as a political plaything, finally admitted what we were saying. We will continue with open arms. This is who we are as a city.”
Adams was scheduled to speak later Friday with federal officials about additional funding to support newcomers. A spokesman for the mayor earlier denounced Abbott’s bus stunt as “a shameful stain on the state of Texas” while dismissing the governor as an “inept politician,” later adding that the city he had no prior word from the incoming immigrant.
The Texas governor’s press office said all the migrants involved had volunteered for the trip, and each showed documentation from the Department of Homeland Security. The office did not respond to a question about the total costs of the trip.
The arrival of the bus, after a 1,750-mile journey east, marked an escalation in the ongoing feud between the governor and the mayor over the issue. None of the new arrivals stayed when reporters arrived at the busy terminal two hours later, with Fox News the only news outlet present when the bus pulled in.
“Due to 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 a statement.
In a later tweet, the governor described New York as “the ideal destination for these migrants. They can receive the services that Mayor Adams has touted (within) the sanctuary city.”
“Governor Abbott is shamelessly exploiting these migrants, human beings who have endured immense suffering in their countries of origin and on the journey to the United States, seeking safe haven and a better life, to serve a short-sighted purpose,” he said. said the Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless in a joint statement.
Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, called Abbott “a cold-hearted, publicity-seeking bigot.”
About two dozen of the newly arrived men were driven from the men’s shelter on E. 30th St. in the afternoon to board a yellow school bus to an undisclosed location.
New York, as a “right to shelter” state, is required by law to provide same-day housing to any adult who arrives at a homeless shelter after 10pm with children.
Leidy, 28, made the 5-day trip from Bogota, Colombia with her children Ariana, 7, and Nicholas, 13, because of the political climate in her country.
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With the cost of living there skyrocketing and no job opportunities, he came here looking for work at what he says is the right time.
“It’s a little easier to get in,” Leidy explained. “It’s a little easier to be here. Because before it was very, very difficult and more so with the children… [But now] with the children, if you come with them, it’s easier.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, whose city has already welcomed more than 6,000 immigrants from Texas, accused Abbott of “a cruel political game … (using) desperate people to score political points.”
Adams earlier this week declined an invitation from Abbott to visit Texas as the battle between the New York Democrat and the Texas governor continued.
People like Ruiz, now in a strange city with only the clothes on their backs, are real life pawns in this political game of hot potato.
“It’s unbelievable, but true. The governor of Texas doesn’t want immigrants in Texas. We got on the bus because they told us that from here they would help us get to the state we’re trying to get to and they would help us get – there more economically,” said Ruiz, who goes to Atlanta, Georgia. “They threw us here. They left. We got here, they left us here. Now we have to figure out what to do.”
With Molly Crane-Newman