By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told The Center Square that New York City’s mayor and other Democratic leaders are hypocritical for criticizing him “for helping out our local communities by busing out migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago.” His comments were in response to New York City Mayor Eric Adams declaring an emergency Friday over a “humanitarian crisis” stemming from illegal immigration at the southern border.
Mayor Adams first criticized Gov. Abbott for busing illegal foreign nationals to New York City at a time when Texas was being overrun by a surge in illegal immigration at the southern border. Abbott first started busing foreign nationals to Washington, D.C., whose mayor also criticized the Texas governor. Gov. Abbott said it was President Joe “Biden and his administration moving migrants themselves in the middle of the night,” adding that Texas recently busing people to so-called sanctuary cities “is really nothing different than what the Biden administration is doing.”
After millions of people began pouring through the southern border after the President Biden administration altered immigration and enforcement policies established by Congress, it also began flying them to locations across the country without notifying elected officials in those states, prompting Florida to sue. After Gov. Abbott began busing them north, Democrats like Mayor Adams said doing was inhumane.
Mayor Adams declared an emergency over Gov. Abbott’s busing initiative on Friday. In response, Gov. Abbott said, “Sanctuary cities like New York City experience a FRACTION of what Texas border communities face every day. We’ll continue busing migrants to NYC, DC, & Chicago to relieve our overwhelmed border towns until Biden does his job to secure the border.”
Mayor Adams says roughly 17,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in New York City since the spring will fill the city’s shelters by over 100,000 before the end of the calendar year and cost taxpayers $1 billion.
But this is a fraction of what the humanitarian crisis at the southern border is costing Texans, Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith argues. Last year, Mr. Smith sounded the alarm after criminal foreign nationals began pouring through his small hometown of Brackettville. Kinney County was the first to declare a disaster in April 2021. Other counties also issued disaster declarations and continue to do so; Gov. Abbott issued a disaster declaration in May 2021.
In March 2021, Gov. Abbott launched Operation Lone Star to increase state resources at the border after the surge in illegal border crossings when President Biden first took office. The Texas Legislature initially allocated more than $4 billion to border security efforts. Gov. Abbott and other Republican governors called on the president to secure the border but received no response.
As Texas border communities declared disasters, last October, Mayor Adams tweeted, “We should protect our immigrants. Yes. New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration.”
One year later, Mayor Adams declared an emergency over 17,000 foreign nationals arriving in New York City, the majority of whom haven’t been transported there by Texas. He said on Friday, “We have not asked for this. There was never any agreement to take on the job of supporting thousands of asylum seekers.”
Multiple county judges in Texas who’ve declared disasters and 33 who’ve declared an invasion agree, Texas did not ask to be overwhelmed and overrun by what is now more than 100,000 people illegally entering a month, they argue. The Texas GOP likens what is happening to the equivalent of 156,000 allied D-Day forces landing in Texas every month for the past 18 months.
Gov. Abbott says that it’s been Texas law enforcement – not federal, not New York – funded by Texas taxpayers who since last March have apprehended more than 311,000 people illegally entering Texas through Mexico. They’ve also made more than 20,500 criminal arrests, including on more than 18,000 felony charges. Texas DPS alone has seized over 337 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill everyone in the U.S.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have confiscated enough lethal doses of fentanyl to kill 5 billion people, a fraction, they argue, of what is coming through from Mexico.
Gov. Abbott says he will “not sit by and do nothing,” and has increasingly expanded border security efforts. He’s the only Texas governor to build a wall on Texas soil and sign memorandums of understanding with four Mexican governors. In addition to leading inter-state compacts with multiple Republican governors, he and the legislature beefed up penalties for human traffickers and those manufacturing and distributing fentanyl. He also designated specific Mexican cartels operating along the border and in Texas as terrorist organizations and instructed DPS to go after gangs and others working with them to the greatest extent of the law.
In April, Abbott first instructed the Texas Department of Emergency Management to begin busing illegal foreign nationals to Washington, D.C., and, most recently, to outside of Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence. President Biden appointed Vice President Harris the federal government’s border czar last year. Since April, more than 8,200 people have been bused to Washington, D.C. Since Aug. 5, more than 3,100 have been bused to New York City. Since Aug. 31, more than 920 have been bused to Chicago.
“The busing mission is providing much-needed relief to our overwhelmed border communities,” Gov. Abbott said. “Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border. Every individual who is apprehended or arrested and every ounce of drugs seized would have otherwise made their way into communities across Texas and the nation due to President Biden’s open border policies.”
Gov. Abbott press secretary Renae Eze also called the NYC mayor a hypocrite. She told The Center Square, “Mayor Adams is an absolute hypocrite. In a city with a population of over 8 million, he’s claiming an emergency for just over 3,100 migrants being bused into his self-declared sanctuary city. That’s not even 1% of the population of New York City.
“The true emergency is on our nation’s southern border where small Texas border towns are overrun and overwhelmed by hundreds of migrants every single day as the Biden Administration dumps them in their communities. Instead of fear-mongering and complaining about a few thousand migrants in his sanctuary city, Mayor Adams should call on President Biden to do his job and secure the border – something the president continues failing to do. Gov. Abbott’s invitation is still open for Mayor Adams to visit the border and see the actual crisis firsthand.”
Gov. Abbott says the mayor has never contacted him or responded to his invitation to come to the Texas-Mexico border.