NEW YORK - Texas Governor Greg Abbott made a trip to Manhattan on Wednesday and in pre-planned speaking event, had high praise for Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul for pushing President Joe Biden to do more to deal with the migrant crisis.
Now he is asking that they join him in urging the President to enforce immigration laws already on the books and take a harder stance on stemming the migrant surge at the border.
"This is unsustainable, and those are the words of your mayor," Governor Abbott said about Mayor Adams.
Coincidentally, Abbott was speaking across the street from the city’s migrant intake center at the Roosevelt Hotel, where at least some of the migrants Abbott has bused from Texas are currently living.
He claims that he has only bused 15,800 migrants so far, something the city is not outwardly disputing.
"What is going on in New York, is calm and organized, compared to the real chaos from what we see on the border," Abbott said. "Not every day, but every hour of every day."
However, there is now confusion in the city on where the rest of the 102,000 migrants have come from since last year.
City officials will not give clear answers nor will they provide access to a migrant database – if there is one - keeping track of who and where these migrants are arriving from.
For example just last week, Mayor Eric Adams blasted the federal government for claiming that 40 percent of migrants in the city’s shelter system are Venezuelan and now eligible for work authorization, even holding up a whiteboard and saying that only around 9,500 migrants are eligible.
"I just want to go over some very clear numbers, so we can have some accurate reporting because I think there was a lack of clarity on the numbers," Adams said at the time.
But the city on Wednesday is now walking that back and is estimating that at least 22,000 migrants are Venezuelan, although they say they have only surveyed 70 percent of migrants in the city’s care so far.
After a back and forth with reporters, Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom claimed that these numbers are not a top priority for New Yorkers anyway.
"I understand that this is an important issue…but please don't tell me it's because the public is dying to know the numbers of Venezuelans," Williams-Isom said.
The city says it will now also be handing out flyers to migrants in the city as well as at the border.
The flyers tell migrants they will not be placed in a hotel, that New York is expensive and the city will not be helping them obtain a work permit.
However, at least right now that is exactly what the city is doing.
"I think the difference that I would say is that there's no guarantee," Williams-Isom said. "We know that at the beginning of the crisis, we were able to put people in hotels. We’re no longer I think putting men and single adult families in hotels."
City officials are now also asking the federal government to waive the work authorization application fee.
It costs $410 for migrants to file a work authorization form online – otherwise they have to mail in a fee waiver form.