NEW YORK - Mayor Eric Adams condemned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday for sending buses of asylum seekers to New York City - some of them against their will.
"This is horrific, when you think about what the governor is doing," Adams said in an early morning visit to the Port Authority bus terminal, where he greeted a bus transporting arriving migrants.
The Republican Texas governor announced on Friday that he was sending buses of migrants to the city. Adams, a moderate Democrat, has been charging for weeks that the state was sending asylum seekers to New York and overwhelming the city's homeless shelters, but Abbott previously denied it.
Adams said migrants were being forced onto buses - even if they wanted to go to destinations other than New York. Some were falsely told they would be taken to their desired destination, only to find themselves bound for New York, he said.
"Some of the families are on the bus that wanted to go to other locations, and they were not allowed to do so. They were forced on the bus," Adams said. "Our goal is to immediately find out each family's needs and give them the assistance they want."
The city estimated last week that 4,000 asylum seekers have entered its shelter system since late May. Adams pointed to the influx when he revealed last month that the city violated state law by failing to timely place indigent families in city shelters.
Abbott has ordered the Texas Division of Emergency Management to charter buses to transport migrants from Texas to both New York and Washington, D.C., where thousands of new arrivals have been sent since April.
"Because of President Biden's continued refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies, the State of Texas has had to take unprecedented action to keep our communities safe," Abbott said in a statement.
"In addition to Washington, D.C., 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 the sanctuary city," the statement said. "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."
Fourteen people were dropped off at the bus station Sunday morning, after three days of travel. Adams said officials expected 40 people to be on the bus, but others appear to have gotten off at other stops along the route.
"It is unimaginable what the governor of Texas has done, when you think about this country, a country that has always been open to those who were fleeing persecution," Adams said. "We've always welcomed them. And this governor is not doing that in Texas. But we are going to set the right tone of being here for these families."
The migrants who wish to remain in New York will be placed in shelters if needed, while volunteers will attempt to assist those who want to travel to other cities where family members are awaiting them.
Adams repeated his plea for federal aid to deal with the influx of asylum seekers.
"We need help, and we're reaching out to the federal government to tell them that we need help," he said. "We're going to get through this."
Abbott recently invited Adams and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to the southern border - an invitation that Adams declined.
The mayor said Texas officials have not communicated about the busing push, and his administration has not been informed when buses are leaving or been given information about the passengers.
"It's unfortunate that the governor of Texas isn't coordinating," he said. "They're not giving us any information."
Adams declined to call for any changes to federal immigration policy, saying he was focused on getting assistance to provide for arriving migrants.
"What Gov. Abbott is doing is cruel, misleading people," said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. "But we won't fall for these scare tactics, and we are going to make sure asylum seekers have the resources and support they need here in New York."