As nearly 100 migrants arrived in New York City from Texas on Wednesday morning, they stepped off buses and into a political firestorm.
Since April, more than 6,600 asylum seekers already processed and released by the Department of Homeland Security have been sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to Washington, D.C., and New York City. At least 170 buses carrying migrants have left Texas so far.
The mayors of those cities are calling the move inhumane as they both ask the federal government for help.
“There’s nothing successful about treating people with this lack of dignity,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday.
With more buses likely coming, the city has opened 11 additional shelters to help house them.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser called it a “growing humanitarian crisis that we expect, that the federal government expects is only going to worsen.”
Asylum seekers have long traveled outside Texas after arriving in the U.S. But Abbott says he’s now sending migrants more than 2,000 miles away, in part, to protest President Biden’s immigration policies.
“We’re full in the state of Texas, our communities are overrun,” Abbott said earlier this month.
Critics have called it a political stunt, with migrant families caught in the middle. One lawyer helping migrants told CBS News that not everyone wanted to end up in New York.
Johana, who is only being identified by her first name to protect her identity, left Venezuela with her children and is seeking asylum. She’s being helped by Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, which has so far helped 110 adults and more than 40 children.
“Everything we endured during the journey, the sadness, the pain, the fear, and being here right now, I feel the sacrifice was worth it,” she told CBS News.
Jonny, a 38-year-old migrant from Venezuela also being identified only by his first name, said he was tired and stressed during his trip, but came to the U.S. to provide a better future for his children.
“I decided to come here to provide a better future for my children and my family because we don’t have that in Venezuela,” he said.