March 21, 2023

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New York struggles to accommodate immigrants as Texas busses them in

(CNN) — More migrants continued to arrive in New York City on Wednesday, a day after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott criticized city officials for bringing migrants detained at the border into the city as part of his campaign to draw attention to the influx of immigrants from Mexico.

City officials said intake centers are already overflowing with more than 4,000 people from an outbreak that began in May.

Three buses carrying about 100 immigrants from Texas arrived in New York City early Wednesday, city officials said. The migrants who arrived Wednesday were from Venezuela and Colombia, said Shayna Coronel, a spokeswoman for Manuel Castro, the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigration Affairs.

The settlers were a mix of families and single men, says Michael Whitesides, a spokesman for Councilwoman Shahana Hanif. They arrived between 7:00 am and 8:00 am to loud applause from the volunteers, including Hanif, the colonel said.

“Mutual Aid groups provided our care packages with food and to-go bags, while NYIC and Immigrant Arc assisted with legal services,” Whitesides said.

The mayor’s office for immigration affairs said about eight migrants who disembarked from the bus required emergency medical treatment for various health-related issues.

week end, At least 68 immigrants And they arrived by bus from Texas.

And with the city planning to open another special assistance center in the next two weeks, along with more emergency housing, officials are struggling with a lack of coordination with the state of Texas, he said.

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“They have essentially weaponized this situation,” Castro said at a City Council hearing Tuesday.

Mayor Eric Adams accused Abbott of forcing immigrants onto buses, a charge the governor’s office denied Monday.

On Friday last week, Abbott’s office Reported New York City is now “a designated destination for a busing strategy with Washington, as part of the governor’s response to the Biden administration’s open border policies that are overwhelming Texas communities.”

Abbott began sending thousands of migrants on buses Washington Earlier this year it was an embarrassment to the Biden administration.

“It’s unimaginable. To come to a country and have someone kick you out on your first visit, like the governor of Texas is doing, and then try to serve this troubled country,” Adams said at an unrelated news event. On Tuesday.

Abbott’s office echoed earlier comments on Wednesday, reiterating that the migrants bussed to New York City are traveling voluntarily and have signed waivers agreeing to their destination.

“These immigrants voluntarily chose to travel to New York City, signed voluntary consent waivers, were available in multiple languages ​​upon boarding, and agreed to a destination. If the mayor wants to address this crisis, he must call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border, something the president has consistently failed to do, Abbott press secretary Rene Eze said in a statement.

A copy of the waiver obtained by CNN lists Washington and New York as “available locations.” It also included a line exempting Texas and its officials from liability “in any way related to injuries and damages that may occur during agreed transportation to destinations outside of Texas.”

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Abbott’s office did not respond to questions about the undisclosed contracts for the bus companies.

The immigrant, who arrived Wednesday and spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, said he had family in New York City and boarded the bus voluntarily. He had previously spent a month traveling across the border from Venezuela to seek asylum, which he described as a difficult journey, and was happy to finally be reunited with his family in New York.

He described the three-day trip to New York as a comfortable ride, provided with food and water. The man said some people on the bus wanted to come to New York of their own accord and had arranged to meet relatives.

Others who arrived Wednesday were seeking final destinations in Chicago, Miami, Maryland, North Carolina, New York City, Rochester and Westbury, Coronel said.

City officials say the evacuees need housing, legal and medical assistance

At Tuesday’s hearing, city officials described the challenge of providing services such as housing, legal aid and medical assistance.

“When the buses arrive, people arrive hungry, thirsty and often sick,” Castro said. “Those are the immediate needs. Asylum seekers have a lot of unique needs.”

New York City Department of Social Services Commissioner Gary Jenkins, investigating “New York City’s long-standing shelter enrollment problems and recent surge in asylum seekers,” has placed immigrants at 11 emergency sites: four in Manhattan, three in Queens, two in Brooklyn and two in the Bronx, he said.

The city is expected to open a special services center in the next two weeks, New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iskoll said. The center will mainly provide legal services and enroll children in public schools. Next, they plan to refer people to community organizations as a way to include immigrants in different communities, Iskol said.

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Adams, for his part, said he is asking for more state and federal aid and hopes to speak with the Biden administration by the end of the week. He also highlighted the conditions that immigrants from Texas had to endure with a 45-hour bus ride and limited stops, although, he said, some wanted to move to another state.

“There is nothing successful about treating people with this lack of dignity,” the mayor said.

CNN’s Isa Kaufman-Geballe contributed to this article.