Gov. Abbott sends over 9,000 migrants to NYC amid homelessness crisis


@govabbott on Instagram

Ethan Carter, Contributor

The use of human lives as political ammo was seen firsthand on Aug. 5 as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began sending buses of over 9,000 unwilling legal migrants to New York City. This event was part of a larger political statement by Abbott—buses were also received outside Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence in Washington DC and military barracks in Massachusetts. The targets being only blue states, it doesn’t take much to make a political connection behind legal migrants being used as political pawns.

Gov. Greg Abbott maintains that he is holding the Biden administration responsible for the influx of migrants, rather than understanding that asylum seekers are fleeing unsafe conditions. On Sept. 10, the Texas Governor condemned Democrats in a tweet, stating, “Texas is bringing the border to their backyard to relieve our overwhelmed communities. It’s past time to fix this crisis they created.”

This choice has generated criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, as the Texas Emergency Officials are in charge of funding these buses using tax-paying dollars. The rebuttal of the Texas State Department against claims of human trafficking of the asylum seekers is that all the recent arrivals signed a voluntary consent waiver agreeing to board a bus to NYC and that it was a choice of free will to be sent to blue states to join their families. Many of these refugees maintain that they have no family in NYC, no future plan and no idea how to gain housing.

The buses of migrants arrive in New York without any prior notice, leaving the city to scramble to provide support. Despite this, they are met with a large welcome by NYC’s diverse community. Large crowds gather as buses arrive, waving flags of support and providing gifts, with locals able to translate helping the migrants find their way.

There is also a continuous line of taxis at Port Authority to help them reach their destination. With the New York City taxi service made up of 95 percent immigrants, as well as a large number of first-generation Americans in New York, it comes as no surprise that such a welcoming community was ready to express compassion and humanity. The New York City public school system has opened its doors to these refugees as well, welcoming 14,000 new migrant students into their education system.

On Aug. 7, Mayor Eric Adams said during a press conference that he had an opportunity to speak with these migrants firsthand. He said that many of the people claimed to have been packed into a bus without any direction and that most of them had to be reticketed to return home with their families. Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York Immigrant Coalition, emphasized that the NYC community must maintain humanity throughout this disaster. He claims that there is a continual issue of confusion, as people are being misled to the idea that they must come to NYC. He also says that people are being provided fake addresses to live here, often without having any families in the city, contradicting Gov. Abbott’s claims.

Those migrants that stay in the city, however, unknowingly fall victim to the ever-growing shelter issue in the city. New York being a right-to-shelter city has the responsibility to fulfill the needs of the homeless. Advocates for the homeless in New York are claiming that Adams is exaggerating the crisis of migrants coming into the shelter system in order to deflect the legal violations made by his shelters. Despite the lawsuit, McCain v. Koch, settled in 2008, which now makes it legally required to provide suitable housing for all homeless families with children, some migrant families are forced to sleep in shelter intake lobbies and are provided only two sandwiches a day.

On a federal level, the government is obligated to provide these necessities to make shelter housing possible and dignified. Adams says that this issue is one the city is still juggling to handle; “We have to continuously find new locations for emergency housing.” As shelters begin to reach capacity, with well over 50,000 in population since the start of September, the public began making safe havens. Compared to New York City’s shelters, these havens have fewer restrictions but smaller spaces. “We’re going to reach out to all of our electors who are advocating on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are homeless and we’re going to ask them to assist us in finding locations within their districts,” Adams said.

Washington D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser, has attempted to ask for help from the National Guard to assist in coordination with the southern states to further prevent these issues. Despite the constant support of the city and the population, over 8,000 Texas migrants remain in New York City shelters, as the world waits to see if Gov. Abbott will be held responsible for this political ploy, and what is to come for the lives of these new migrants in America.