Updated Jan 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Mayor says NYC-bound migrant buses arriving at N.J. train stations

A bus carrying migrants from Texas arrives at a bus station in New York City in May. Photo: Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New Jersey officials say hundreds of migrants on buses bound for New York City have arrived in the state since Saturday.

Why it matters: Michael Gonnelli, mayor of Secaucus, said it "seems quite clear the bus operators are finding a way to thwart the requirements" of NYC Mayor Eric Adams' recent executive order requiring at least 32 hours' advanced notice of migrant buses arriving in the state.

Driving the news: Gonnelli in a Sunday statement noted that four buses of migrants arrived at the Secaucus Junction train station on Saturday were the "unexpected consequences" of Adams' order, which he said was perhaps "too stringent."

  • Jersey City Emergency Management said in a statement Sunday that 397 migrants arrived on 10 buses at various transit stations throughout the state, including Secaucus, Fanwood, Edison and Trenton.
  • All were from Texas besides one from Louisiana, the statement said. A spokesperson for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said on Monday that while the bus company was based iA n the state, "the migrants in question came from Texas."

What they're saying: A New York City Hall said on Monday that NYC "has led the nation in responding to this national humanitarian crisis" and provided "vital services to more than 161,000 migrants who have come through our care since spring 2022."

  • Adams' order "is part of that effort, ensuring the safety and well-being of both migrants and city staff receiving them," spokesperson Kayla Mamelak said in an emailed statement.
  • "But instead of joining us in treating human beings humanely, Texas Governor Greg Abbott continues to treat asylum seekers like political pawns, and is instead now dropping families off in surrounding cities and states in the cold, dark of night with train tickets to travel to New York City, just like he has been doing in Chicago in response to their similar executive order," Mamelak added.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday accused Adams of "astounding" hypocrisy.

  • "Adams had touted New York City's self-declared sanctuary city status, then sent his own buses of migrants out to small towns in New York," said the spokesperson, Renae Eze, via email.
  • "With millions of residents, New York is only dealing with a fraction of what our small border communities deal with on a day-to-day basis. Until President Biden steps up and does his job to secure the border, Texas will continue busing migrants to sanctuary cities to help our local partners respond to this Biden-made crisis."
  • Representatives for the Biden administration did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

What we're watching: Jersey City Emergency Management said the matter was going to be a statewide conversation and it's important to "wait for some guidance from the Governor here on next steps as busses continue."

  • Tyler Jones, a spokesperson for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), said in an emailed statement Monday that the state was "primarily being used as a transit point for these families" and that "all or nearly all of them continued with their travels en route to their final destination of New York City."
  • Jones added that the N.J. governor's office was "closely coordinating with our federal and local partners on this matter."

Zoom out: What started as a protest against Biden's immigration and border policies has seen Texas and other mostly Republican-led states spend millions of dollars sending migrants to other parts of the U.S.

Go deeper: States are spending millions to send migrants somewhere else

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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