Fifty-four asylum seekers arrived in New York on a bus from Texas on Friday, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs said.
“What the governor of Texas has done is unimaginable,” Adams told reporters Sunday. “When you think about this country, a country that’s always open to people fleeing persecution and other intolerable situations, we’ve always welcomed that. This governor hasn’t done that in Texas, but we’re going to set it. It’s the right message, the right tone to be here for these families.”
“Washington, D.C., in addition to New York City, is an ideal destination for these immigrants, who can access the many city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has touted within a sanctuary city,” Abbott said Friday.
Manuel Castro, commissioner of the mayor’s office of immigrant affairs, told CNN New York is a city with a right to shelter, so anyone who needs shelter can get it. However, the city has “run out” of its regular lodging space, so it has leased additional space in hotels, he said.
“These are families, these are people,” Castro said. “They have a right to be here as asylum seekers, and New York is here to welcome them. They obviously need a lot of support. They’ve traveled a long way to get here.”
Meyer says some immigrants don’t want to come to New York
About 40 people are expected to arrive Sunday, Adams said, adding that it is not known if others got off the bus before arriving in New York.
Some of the immigrants who arrived Sunday told the mayor they had relatives in other cities and did not plan to come to New York.
Adams said Sunday that some families “wanted to move to other places and they weren’t allowed to do so.” “They were forced onto the bus on the understanding that they were going to other places they wanted to go, and when they tried to explain, they were not allowed to do so.”
The desired destination was non-New York families who said it took them three days to get to the city from Texas, and Castro, who also met them, noted that they were “hungry and thirsty with little children.”
Adams issued an emergency declaration last week to “quickly procure shelter and other services” for people seeking asylum in the city. Those who want to stay in New York will go to shelters, and volunteer groups will help “those who want to go somewhere else” get somewhere else, the mayor said.
Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, told CNN that 19 yellow cabs and Uber cars were ready Sunday morning to voluntarily transport refugees from Texas from bus stops to shelters or to the homes of friends or family in the area.
“Everyone we saw looked exhausted from the journey. Many were relieved to finally reach safety, but there were also those crying from shock,” Desai said.
“It’s wrong, in our melting pot city, it doesn’t work,” Desai added. “We wanted to do our part to let new neighbors know they’re welcome here, and there are people in NYC to help.”
CNN has asked the mayor’s office for the total number of immigrants being moved from Texas.
Generally, once immigrants are processed by federal authorities and released from custody, they are allowed to move across the country while they pursue immigration court proceedings. They are often released in Texas and other border states and then continue their journey to other parts of the country.
An immigration judge will ultimately decide whether they should be allowed to remain in the United States or deported.
CNN’s Maria Santana contributed to this report.
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