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NYC dealing with new migrant surge as number of buses nearly triples in recent days

John Lamparski/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — New York City is seeing signs of the influx of migrant arrivals that communities along the southern border have grappled with in recent weeks. The surge in the city comes amid a record number of asylum-seekers entering the shelter system since Spring 2022.


At a press conference on Wednesday, NYC Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services Anne Williams-Isom said the city is seeing a “significant surge” of arrivals in recent days.

Officials at the briefing said there have been up to 400 migrants arriving in the city each day in recent months, but that number has shot up to around 600 per day.

Mayor Eric Adams’ chief of staff Camille Joseph attributed the spike, in part, to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ramping up the number of charter buses with migrants he’s sending to NYC and other sanctuary cities.

During the week of Sept. 11, the city received around 10 charter buses. But through the week of Sept. 25, they received 27, Joseph said.

Abbott has been busing migrants to sanctuary cities since April 2022 as a way to protest President Joe Biden’s immigration policies. Adams has accused the governor of using “vulnerable asylum-seekers as political pawns.” Texas officials have left most of the communication about when and where buses are being dispatched to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Joseph said that as Abbott increases his busing efforts, officials are communicating less with the city.

“While before we may have received a few hours’ notice that buses were coming through back channels and different organizations — even including information on the manifest numbers of how many people were going to be on those buses,” Joseph said. “This change means that we no longer get even a scant heads-up. Without this information, it makes it increasingly difficult for us to calculate on a day-to-day basis what our capacity is, and our ability to respond is even more challenged.”

In late September, the city of Eagle Pass, Texas, issued an emergency declaration due to an increase of migrants crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico.

“Additional buses deployed to Eagle Pass are loading up to send migrants to self-declared sanctuary cities. Texas will utilize every strategy to help our border towns and respond to Biden’s border crisis,” Gov. Abbott posted on X in September.

But Joseph said that while the number of buses being sent from Texas is easier to count, city officials don’t always know how migrants are getting to the intake center at the Roosevelt Hotel.

As of Oct. 1, city shelters were caring for over 116,700 people, including over 63,000 asylum-seekers.

On Tuesday, the Adams administration announced a new $38 million commitment from New York state to help provide legal services to asylum-seekers.

In September, the Biden administration extended and redesignated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for some Venezuelan immigrants who have arrived in the United States before July 31. The administration estimates nearly half a million migrants would be eligible for the temporary relief from deportation and work authorization.

The Adams administration plans to use some of the funding to help asylum-seekers apply for TPS.

News of the latest spike of migrant arrivals in the city came on the same day Adams embarked on a multi-day trip to Central and South America to visit some of the areas that migrants are traveling through on the way to the United States.

“We have said it from the beginning, but it bears repeating, this is a global humanitarian crisis and once it hits the United States, it’s a national crisis that requires a national response,” Williams-Isom said. “I’m not sure that this administration can say it any clearer.”

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