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Migrants from the Texas border arrive at NYC’s Port Authority

Written by Javed Iqbal

A busload of about 50 migrants sent to New York City by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrived early Friday as the Lone Star State Republican continued his war with the White House over its open border policies.

The migrants boarded a chartered bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown around 6:30 a.m., with a press release from Abbott brazenly declaring that New York was now “a drop-off point” for people crossing the border into Texas.

Alfonso Ruiz is one of about 25 men who arrived from Texas in a military bus around

“The journey by bus, it was tough. It was 36 hours from Texas,” said Ruiz, 40. “It took about two days. Stopping and yelling and stopping almost all day.”

But that was nothing compared to the two months he spent walking to the US border from Venezuela.

“I’m tired,” Ruiz said. “We all have swollen feet.”

Prior to the bus’ arrival in Manhattan on Friday, Governor Abbott had already sent thousands of migrants to Washington, DC, in the escalating political battle, with Mayor Adams quickly condemning Abbott for standing on the backs of the new arrivals.

“This is despicable what we are witnessing in Texas,” Adams said later at Gracie Mansion. “The Texas governor — using people as a political game — he finally admitted what we said. We’re going to continue to be open arms. That’s who we are as a city.”

Mayor Eric Adams and Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Adams planned to speak with federal officials later Friday about additional funding to offer support to the new arrivals. A spokesman for the mayor earlier condemned Abbott’s bus stunt as “an embarrassing stain on the state of Texas,” while dismissing the governor as an “inept politician,” later adding that the city had no advance notice of the incoming immigrant.

The Texas governor’s press office said the migrants involved had all volunteered for the trip and each showed documentation from the Department of Homeland Security. The office did not respond to a question about the total cost of the trip.

The arrival of the bus, after a 1,750 kilometer trip to the east, marked an escalation in ongoing battle between the governor and the mayor over the question. None of the new arrivals were back when reporters arrived at the busy terminal two hours later, with Fox News the only news outlet present when the bus pulled in.

“Due to President Biden’s continued refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies, the state of Texas has had to take unprecedented measures to keep our communities safe,” Abbott said in a statement.

In a later tweet, the governor described New York as “the ideal destination for these migrants. They can receive the services Mayor Adams has touted (within the) sanctuary city.”

“Governor Abbott is shamelessly exploiting these migrants — people who have endured enormous suffering in their home countries and on the journey to the United States, in search of safe harbor and a better life — to serve some short-sighted purpose,” says the Legal Aid Society and The Legal Aid Society. The Coalition for the Homeless said in a joint statement.

Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, labeled Abbott “a cold-hearted publicity-seeking bigot.”

About two dozen of the newly arrived men were taken from the men’s shelter on E. 30th St. in the afternoon. to board a yellow school bus to an undisclosed location.

New York, as a “right-to-shelter” state, is required by law to provide same-day accommodation for any adult which arrives at 22 with children in a homeless shelter.

Leidy, 28, made the 5-day trip from Bogota, Colombia with her children, 7-year-old Ariana and Nicholas, 13, because of the political climate in their home country.

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With the cost of living skyrocketing and no job opportunities, she came here looking for work at what she says is the right time.

“It’s a little easier to get in,” Leidy explained. “A little easier to be here. Because before it was very, very difficult and more so with the children… [But now] with the children, if you come with them, it’s easier.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, whose city has already received more than 6,000 immigrants by bus from Texas, has accused Abbott of “cruel political gamesmanship … (using) desperate people to score political points.”

Adams declined earlier this week an Abbott invitation to visit Texas as the sparring between the New York Democrat and the Texas governor continued.

People like Ruiz, now in a foreign city with only the clothes on his back, are real pawns in this political game of hot potato.

“It’s unbelievable, but true. The governor of Texas doesn’t want immigrants in Texas. We got on the bus because they told us that from here they would help us get to the state we’re trying to get to and that they would help us get there more economically,” said Ruiz, who is headed to Atlanta, Ga. “We were dumped here. They’re gone. We came here, they left us here. Now we have to figure out what we must do.”

With Molly Crane-Newman

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Javed Iqbal

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