Migrants from Texas arrive in New York, and in a political dispute

The first 3,500 miles of Jose Rodriguez’s journey from Venezuela to New York took almost two months.

The last 2,000 took less than two days to board a bus chartered by the state of Texas.

Mr Rodriguez was among about 50 migrants who arrived at the Port Authority bus terminal in Times Square early Friday amid a raging political battle over immigration.

Since April, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has been sending newly arrived asylum seekers to immigrant-friendly Democratic cities on the East Coast to try to pressure the Biden administration to crack down on the border. Mr Abbott’s press office said the bus that arrived in Manhattan on Friday, which departed Eagle Pass on Wednesday afternoon, was “the first group of migrants to settle from Texas to New York City.”

Mr Abbott and Mayor Eric Adams of New York have been feuding for weeks on social media and in the press about immigrants. The bus was dispatched two days after Mr. Adamso emergency measures announced To enable New York City to quickly add shelter capacity.

Officials in New York have said that about 4,000 asylum seekers Came to town in the last few months. Most buses from Texas – and from Arizona, whose governor has followed Mr Abbott’s lead – have gone to Washington.

Like Washington, New York is “the ideal destination for these migrants, who can access the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams claimed within the Sanctuary City,” Mr Abbott said in a statement on Friday. Told. “I hope he will fulfill his promise to welcome all migrants with open arms so that our overpopulated and overwhelmed border towns can get relief.”

Mr Adams and Washington’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, both say their cities are overwhelmed by an influx of asylum seekers, with the homeless-shelter system at capacity. They have called on the federal government to help them find and build a place for migrants to live.

The population of New York City’s main homeless-shelter system had risen to more than 50,000 as of Tuesday, up from 46,000 at the end of May. It was not clear how much pressure the system is under for asylum seekers.

The number of people in the city’s family shelters, where almost all of them have increased recently, ticks upward in the summer, and although there has been a recent increase on the Mexican border, refugees from Latin America find their way to New York. There are large numbers throughout the year.

The city’s Department of Homeless Services declined to provide figures on how many of those who recently arrived at the shelters had come from outside New York or whether the proportion had changed.

Last month, when the city violated asylum law by failing to provide rooms for some of the family shelters in the Bronx, Mr. Adams blamed asylum seekers sent from Texas and Arizona.

Advocates for the homeless say there are a number of reasons why city shelter systems have become overloaded, some partially or completely under city control. Those factors include a lack of affordable housing, an increase in evictions, and longer waiting times to move out of shelters and into apartments.

Although some migrants who arrived on a chartered bus from Texas on Friday were taken to the shelter system, Mr Rodriguez and a friend traveling with him, Pablo Gutierrez, knew someone in New York who was able to place them. Live. “We have a friend who is going to visit us here,” said Mr. Gutierrez.

Mr Rodriguez, 38, an unemployed bricklayer from Maracaibo on Venezuela’s northwest coast, said he left the house on June 10 with $100 in his pocket.

“I didn’t have money to eat,” he said, his voice cracking, as he waited for his host in Midtown later on Friday morning. “The situation in Venezuela is very disappointing.”

Like other migrants, Mr Rodriguez and Mr Gutierrez said they had agreed to move to New York because it was free. “We heard there is a lot of work in New York,” said Gutierrez, 30, who worked as a home cook.

The Adams administration denounced the bus trip by Mr. Abbott as another stunt. “The continued use of humans as political pawns is abhorrent,” said Fabian Levy, a spokesman for Mr. Adams, the Texas governor. wrote on twitter, The city will continue to “welcome asylum seekers”, Mr Levy said, but to do so requires federal support.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, which provides aid and services to newly arrived immigrants, said Friday that it has helped more than 1,000 people who have passed directly from the southern border or after a brief detour in recent weeks. had come to New York. to Washington. Asylum seekers crossing the southern border regularly travel on buses from Texas to New York City, although they usually stop first in San Antonio or other southern cities rather than arriving directly.

Mr Abbott’s press office did not immediately respond to questions about whether Texas planned to send more buses of migrants to New York.

Either way, the tide of migrants keeps flowing. On Friday afternoon, an extended family from Venezuela – six adults and four children – arrived at the family shelter in the Bronx. He said he had made his way to a shelter in San Antonio, where a religious group had bought him a ticket to Newark. From there he went to New York because he heard that he could find work in the city.

“Even if there were other places,” said 27-year-old Calvin Ortega, “we always knew we wanted to be here.”

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