New Jersey’s Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli revealed on Sunday, December 31st, 2023, that buses carrying migrants initially bound for New York City have been diverting to train stations across the state, including Secaucus Junction.
This move appears to respond to a recent executive order by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, which mandates advance notification and restricted hours for migrant drop-offs in the city.
Since Saturday, approximately four buses have arrived in Secaucus, with the migrants then transferring to trains to reach their intended destination in New York City.
Gonnelli expressed, “It seems quite clear the bus operators are finding a way to thwart the requirements of the executive order by dropping migrants at the train station in Secaucus and having them continue to their final destination.”
The mayor also suggested that the strict nature of the New York order might be contributing to these unforeseen outcomes, labeling the strategy as a “loophole” exploited by bus operators.
The situation extends beyond Secaucus, affecting various locations across New Jersey.
Reports from Jersey City’s emergency management agency indicate that around 10 buses, originating from Texas and one from Louisiana, have arrived at multiple transit stations, including those in Fanwood, Edison, and Trenton.
On Tuesday, January 2nd, Edison Mayor Sam Joshi said, “I want to make it clear that our position here in Edison Township is that they’re not welcome here, they are illegal, and they belong on the other side of the border.”
Mayor Joshi continued, “I had directed my police department, as well as my emergency management to charter a bus that would take them straight back to the other side of the border if they were to actually come out. The good thing is they didn’t, they got the message and they just left Edison altogether.”
Since Saturday, these locations have received about 400 migrants.
“This is clearly going to be a statewide conversation so it is important that we wait for some guidance from the governor here on next steps,” a social media post from Jersey City’s emergency management agency stated.
Tyler Jones, a spokesperson for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, confirmed that New Jersey is being used as a transit point, with most migrants continuing to New York City.
Jones mentioned that officials in New Jersey are actively collaborating with federal and local authorities and their colleagues across the Hudson River.
A spokesperson for New York City’s City Hall stated on Monday that since spring 2022, the city has been at the forefront of addressing the national humanitarian crisis by offering compassionate care, shelter, and essential services to over 161,000 migrants.
The spokesperson described the executive order as a key component of these efforts, aimed at safeguarding the welfare of both the migrants and the city’s staff.
Last month, approximately 14,700 individuals seeking asylum crossed the southern border of the United States and eventually arrived in New York City via bus, as disclosed in a Wednesday, December 27th statement by New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
Mayor Adams, in partnership with the mayors of Chicago and Denver, called for increased federal assistance and better coordination regarding the influx of asylum-seeking migrants last week.
The Democratic mayors are advocating for increased federal funding, the expansion of work authorization, and the establishment of a scheduled timetable for bus arrivals.