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New York struggles to cope with surge in asylum seekers as Texas begins ferrying migrants to the city

City officials said reception centers are already overwhelmed with more than 4,000 people since a surge that began in May.

Over the weekend, at least 68 other migrants arrived by bus from Texas. Another bus was expected on Tuesday and two more on Wednesday, said Manuel Castro, the mayor’s office commissioner for immigrant affairs.

And while the city plans to open a help center based on more specialized services in the next two weeks, as well as more emergency housing, officials are grappling with a lack of coordination from the government. State of Texas, he said.

“They basically weaponized this situation,” Castro told a city council hearing on Tuesday.. “We learned that the bus company they worked with had a nondisclosure agreement that did not allow them to communicate with New York City.”

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

On Friday, Abbott’s office released a statement saying New York City is now a “designated filing location with Washington, D.C., for the bus strategy 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 to Washington, DC, earlier this year as an intentional affront youo the Biden administration.

“It’s unimaginable. Come to a country and on your first visit here someone kicks you out, like the governor of Texas does, and then tries to navigate this complex country to provide your services,” Adams said. during an independent press event on Tuesday. .

Abbott’s office responded by saying the asylum seekers voluntarily chose to come to New York. The office did not respond to questions about nondisclosure agreements for bus companies.

“What’s horrible are the thousands of illegal immigrants who invade and overwhelm our border communities with populations smaller than a New York borough, and Mayor Adams is hypocritically upset to welcome a few dozen to his city. sanctuary,” Abbott said in the statement. “If the mayor wants a solution to this crisis, he should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border – which the president continues to fail to do.”

City officials say asylum seekers need housing, legal and medical assistance

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

“As the buses arrive, people arrive hungry, thirsty and often sick,” Castro said. “And those are the immediate needs. Asylum seekers have many special needs.”

New York City Department of Human Services Commissioner Gary Jenkins said during the hearing about “longstanding admissions issues at New York City shelters and the recent increase in the number of asylum seekers ‘asylum’ that the migrants were placed in 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 specialized service center within the next two weeks, New York City Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol said. This center will mainly provide legal services and registration in public schools for children who have arrived, among others. They then plan to refer people to community organizations to enroll migrants in different communities, Iscol said.

Adams, for his part, said he is asking for more state and federal help and expects to speak with the Biden administration before the end of the week. He also pointed to the conditions most migrants from Texas had to endure, with a 45-hour bus ride and limited stops, although, he said, some wanted to go 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 report.


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