EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — The City of El Paso issued a response Friday after New York City Mayor Eric Adams called on El Paso's mayor and city manager to stop sending buses of migrants to New York.
"El Paso, the city manager, the mayor, they should stop sending buses to New York. New York can not accommodate the number of buses we have coming here to our city," Adams said at a press conference.
KFOX14 asked the City of El Paso about Adams' remark.
City of El Paso Spokesperson Laura Cruz-Acosta released the following statement:
This Federal issue remains a local humanitarian concern for the City of El Paso and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) due to the increasing number of migrants passing through the region, limited federal and local shelter capacities, and an increasing number of migrants that are not sponsored or have means to travel. With the goal to provide for the safety of the migrants from the elements and to preserve our local community’s transitory hospitality shelter capacities so they may continue to serve our homeless community, El Paso and OEM have sponsored and provided transportation services for migrants out of El Paso to locations the migrants are selecting.
So, the migrants are selecting NYC and various other locations, El Paso and OEM is providing assistance to the migrants in the form of food, water, temporary shelter, first aid, and transportation. El Paso and OEM is not selecting NYC and no one is forced to go where they don’t want to go. Before the charter departs El Paso, we advise the NYC Mayor’s Office, the local NYC NGO (Grannies Respond) and the Office of Emergency Management team from New York.
From Aug. 23 to Oct. 6, the city said it has chartered a total of 196 buses, for a total of 9,322 people. The city said 7,368 migrants went to NYC, and 1,954 went to Chicago.
According to Adams, New York City has received 17,000 migrants since April. That total takes into account the number of migrants sent from El Paso.
“There was never an agreement for El Paso to send asylum seekers here. We never told them, please send us your asylum seekers," said Adams.
The NYC Mayor added that the cost of helping migrants is about to surpass $1 billion.
On Friday, Adams declared a state of emergency and is directing New York City agencies to coordinate their efforts. He is also asking for emergency federal and state aid.
"If our city had had coordination or even just cooperation from any of the states sending buses or more support from our partners, then maybe we could've budgeted, staffed and allocated resources for these asylum seekers. But we didn't get the support and the information we asked for," Adams said.
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Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a response to Adams' remarks on Twitter and called on President Joe Biden to take action to secure the border.
"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.
On Sept. 20, Adams first said that New York City could not handle the influx of migrants it was receiving.
“When we reached out to the Mayor of El Paso he was willing to sit down and share what his concerns are and what our concerns are and figure out a humane way to coordinate. And we are clear, we cannot handle all of your migrants Mayor of El Paso," Adams previously said.
After hearing that, KFOX14 asked the El Paso city leaders about sending fewer buses to New York City.
KFOX14 reporter Jhovani Carillo asked Mayor Oscar Leeser: "It sounds like El Paso is basically listening to migrants more than our partners in New York. Is that the case?"
Leeser wouldn't answer the question and gave the same response when asked three times.
"Remember we are working with our NGOs, we are working with the Office of Emergency Management and we are working with our partners as well," Leeser previously told KFOX14.
We also asked the city if they considered alternative solutions to help Adams.
The city said they were trying to accommodate the migrants by sending them where they want to go.
"We are relying on what the migrant want. They are individuals, they are free to travel our country as they see fit," El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D'Agostino previously told KFOX14.
“We work really hard with them. We will never send anybody where they don't want to go," Leeser previously said.
KFOX14 on Friday asked El Pasoans what they thought of the city's handling of the migrants. Some said they agreed with the city's strategy.
“We definitely need to get those poor people out of here," said one man.
“Oscar Leeser is right, we are overwhelmed. Why have them here? Send them elsewhere," said another man.
Others disagreed with the city's plan.
“Spread them out. Not just in El Paso or New York. I mean there are other places that we can send them to," said one woman.
“We should've sent them to Washington DC," said another woman.
“If maybe there’s an issue of them being well taken care of in New York, then yeah we should probably listen to the mayor of New York," said a man.
One person said the migrants should stay in El Paso.
“This is actually the best place for them," said the man. "I think El Paso is capable.”
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