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Mayor Adams furious after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent dozens of migrants to New York City against their will

CBS New York logo CBS New York 8/6/2022 Marcia Kramer

NEW YORK -- A red state, blue state border war has erupted after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent dozens of migrants to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, taking advantage of New York City's right to shelter law as he fights with President Joe Biden over immigration policy. 

Mayor Eric Adams is furious, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Friday.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal became the scene of the crime - what city officials think is a political crime by Abbott.

The Texas governor bused over 40 migrants - men, women and children - to New York City, his new drop-off location, to remove them from border towns in a challenge to the Biden administration's open border policies. 

"Governor Greg Abbott is continuing to play with the lives of human beings. We think this is cruel, it's disgusting and it's pure cowardice," said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. 

A spokesperson for Adams called the move "an embarrassing stain on the state of Texas," but stressed that as a right to shelter city, he would welcome the asylum seekers with open arms. 

In a statement, Adams' press secretary Fabien Levy said, "... but we are asking for resources to help do so. We need Washington, D.C.'s assistance in dealing with the cruel political games being played by inept politicians like the governor of Texas."

Abbott has been busing migrants to Washington, D.C. but said New York City will be a new location. 

"New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within in the sanctuary city. I hope he follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief," Abbott said in a statement. 

Castro said some of the migrants were confused to arrive in the Big Apple and relief workers who met the buses said many had no idea they were coming to New York City. 

"I spoke to another family who thought were coming to Maryland, and in fact, their paperwork from immigration says that they were going to these destinations, but they were lied to in Texas and now they're being sent to New York City," Castro said.  

"Some of them weren't even supposed to be in New York. I mean there's people going to Portland, Oregon. We had to get them tickets to North Carolina, Washington, D.C. and all sorts of other places. So they were kind of inappropriately brought to New York," said relief worker Andrea Garbarini. 

Kathryn Kliff, a legal aid attorney, said she's also worried that Abbott sent people here against their will. 

"By their own choice, have endured horrific things before they got here and this is just an additional trauma to be sent somewhere that's not where you want to be," Kliff said.


Video: NYC mayor blasts Texas governor over busing migrants (CBS News)

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Watch Marcia Kramer's report

Texas governor sends dozens of migrants to New York City 02:32 © Provided by CBS New York Texas governor sends dozens of migrants to New York City 02:32

CBS2's Ali Bauman spoke with a 44-year-old single father of three from Venezuela who wants to stay anonymous because he fears for his safety.

He has been staying in Queens with his three sons since they arrived a few days ago.

In Spanish, he spoke about their journey.

"I spent five days in the jungle from Colombia to Panama," he said. "I got robbed, all my food and money was taken, so my kids and I spent two days in the jungle with no food."

Eventually, they made it to Texas.

"This charity in Texas sent us a voucher so we could fly from Texas to Chicago to New York," he said.

He added he feels blessed to have shelter, food and fresh clothing here, and he and his children say they're excited about the future.

This father is one of the 4,000 migrants seeking asylum who have come to New York City this summer.

Adams, meanwhile, is now turning to the federal government for more resources.

"We already have a housing crisis. Help us here because not only it's housing, it's translation services, it's education, it is food," he said.

The city is helped by nonprofits like Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn, which provides legal services.

"We have the knowledge to help them. We just need more resources to be able to," said Raluca Oncioiu, an attorney with Catholic Migration Services' immigration program.

She says they're now receiving hearing notices for immigration court for people who are not their clients and they cannot contact.

"A number of them have told us that it was the officers at the border who put the address on the papers," she said. "Processes that have been put in place to ensure that people have their day in court, that they can actually seek asylum, those processes are being bypassed."

The city says it is increasing its capacities across the board for additional beds in the shelter system, as well as interpreters and legal services.

Legal Aid is asking Adams and Castro to provide a plan for addressing the needs of the migrants who have arrived here. 

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