New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced extending the city’s migrant transportation crackdown to include trains and airplanes is on the table.
The mayor aims to address the growing number of asylum seekers arriving via New Jersey Transit trains, bypassing the existing bus restrictions.
Adams, in his first media briefing of 2024 on Tuesday, January 2nd, at City Hall, expressed his frustration with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s actions of transporting migrants to sanctuary cities, including New York.
The mayor said, “What Governor Abbott has done in his total reckless disregard for using people as pawns, he has shifted, and he just wants to create chaos.”
“We’re dealing with a person who just wants to disrupt. It’s not just about raising the attention on an issue. This is a mean‑spirited way using people and disrupting municipalities, not only in this region and in other parts of the entire country,” Adams commented.
He continued, “We’re going to pivot and shift and be prepared to send the right message to the bus operators, you should not participate in the actions of Governor Abbott.”
Last week, Mayor Adams issued an executive order requiring charter bus companies to notify City Hall 32 hours in advance before dropping migrants off in New York City.
This order limits drop-offs to a specific location and timeframe, aiming to manage the influx of over 160,000 migrants since spring 2022.
Despite these efforts, migrants have been finding alternative routes into the city.
Governor Abbott, defending Texas’ transportation of migrants, stated that sanctuary cities like New York and Chicago have only experienced a fraction of the challenges faced by Texas border towns. He vowed to continue these relocations until there is a change in federal border policies.
Texas has sent over 95,000 migrants to sanctuary cities so far.
In response to a question about the city’s plans to deploy NYPD police officers to prevent buses from allowing people to disembark at specific locations in New Jersey, the mayor said he will utilize all resources in his power to address the issue.
Adams stated, “We are dealing with a bully right now, and everything is on the table that conforms with the law.”
The migrant transport issue has also affected neighboring areas.
Edison Mayor San Joshi, in a stern Facebook post, declared that any migrant arriving by bus, train, or plane would be sent back to the Texas-Mexico border. Joshi stated Edison does not have the financial and social services resources to house migrants.
Lisa Zornberg, Chief Counsel for the Adams administration, emphasized the city’s stance.
“The state of Texas is purposely to try to evade the executive order, and now what you’re seeing is the same buses from Texas paid for by the state of Texas that were previously dropping off at Port Authority, are now dropping off at train stations in New Jersey, at Trenton, at Secaucus,” she said,
Zornberg added, “What’s happening right now is bonkers. What Texas is doing is bonkers.”
Adams also discussed the “right to shelter” mandate, emphasizing that it should not be applied to the humanitarian crisis the city is currently facing.
He said, “We’re in court right now, clearly articulating that the forefathers and forewomen, mothers of that law did not think that one day we were going to talk about 160-something thousand people showing up at our door. That is what I believe we need to modify.”
Regarding migrants and asylum seekers, Mayor Adams called for state-level support to manage what he described as a crisis impacting New York City, the state’s economic engine.
Mayor Adams also addressed several key issues during the press briefing. He emphasized his desire for continued mayoral control over New York City’s education system, seeking the same level of authority that previous mayors had to effect change in the school system.
Adams highlighted achievements in the Department of Education under his administration, including improved test scores and initiatives like Summer Rising.
Additionally, he touched on the issue of cannabis enforcement, expressing a need for more localized control. He mentioned his intent to shut down unauthorized cannabis shops within 30 days, criticizing their mockery of the legal process.
On the topic of housing, Adams expressed frustration over the lack of progress from Albany last year. He stressed the need to address the housing inventory crisis.
Finally, he discussed the class size mandate law, arguing that it diverts resources from schools with greater needs. He plans to include this concern in his legislative agenda for the upcoming session in Albany.