NEW YORK - The latest group of asylum seekers arrived in New York City over the weekend. And the city is unsure of how to prepare for the next possible group to arrive.
Mayor Eric Adams said on Monday that the city is still determining how many migrants have already entered the city and how many more are expected. Blasting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Adams said Abbott has refused to coordinate when buses will be arriving in the city, so resources are scrambled together when each new group arrives.
"I don't think anything thing is more anti-American than shipping people on a 45-hour bus trip without any of the basic needs," Adams said. "They have no direction or coordination."
City officials say they expected 40 migrants to be on the bus that arrived on Sunday but only 14 people were on the bus that pulled into the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The mayor blamed disinformation from Texas officials leading asylum seekers to believe they would be detained or arrested when they arrived in the city.
A bus that arrived Friday morning was carrying 54 migrants.
"Also what was extremely revealing yesterday is that there was some who wanted to go to other cities where they have families and they just packed them on a bus without any direction," Adams said.
Abbott has been busing thousands of migrants to areas like New York and Washington, D.C., as a political move, claiming that this is a crisis caused by President Joe Biden and his "open border policies."
Abbott on Monday pushed back on Adams' statement that some migrants were forced on buses to New York City against their will.
"These migrants willingly chose to go to New York City, having signed a voluntary consent waiver, available in multiple languages, upon boarding that they agreed on the destination," Abbott said. "If the mayor wants a solution to this crisis, he should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border—something the President continues failing to do."
City immigration officials said at least 4,000 migrants have arrived in New York over the last 3 months, overwhelming an already crowded shelter system. New York is a right-to-shelter city, which means that any asylum seeker has a right to a safe haven bed.
Adams said the city will make hotel rooms available to migrants who need a bed.
But Kathryn Kliff, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid society, says there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
"We want to actually understand how many people are talking about," Kliff said. "The city still hasn't provided us with data about very basic things like how many people had to sleep at the Path Intake Center in violation of law, how many people you know are not getting placements when they should have."
The mayor has been pleading with the federal government for more resources to deal with the influx of asylum seekers but says they are still working out exactly how much they will need considering they do not know how many people will arrive in the next few months. Adams said he planned to speak with the White House on Monday.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also criticized Abbott.
"I stand with Adams in calling for more help from the federal government in helping these people and allowing them to live with dignity," Hochul said.
City Council members will be holding a special hearing on Tuesday morning to discuss the city's response to the influx of asylum seekers.