(CNN) — Authorities in New York City lashed out at Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday, days after he began moving migrants detained at the border into the city as part of his campaign to draw attention to the influx of migrants. asylum seekers crossing from Mexico.
City officials said intake centers are already overwhelmed with more than 4,000 people since a surge that began in May.
During the weekend, at least 68 immigrants more arrived by bus from Texas. Another bus was expected on Tuesday and two more on Wednesday, said Manuel Castro, the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.
And while the city plans to open a more specialized help center in the next two weeks, along with more emergency housing, officials are struggling with a lack of coordination from the state of Texas, he said.
“They have essentially weaponized this situation,” Castro said while speaking at a city council hearing Tuesday. “We have learned that the bus company they have been working with has a non-disclosure agreement that does not allow them to communicate with New York City.”
Mayor Eric Adams accused Abbott of forcing migrants onto buses, a charge the governor’s office denied Monday.
On Friday of last week, the Abbott office issued a statement stating that New York City is now a designated location “for the busing strategy with Washington, DC, as part of the Governor’s response to the Biden Administration’s open border policies overwhelming communities in Texas”.
Abbott began sending thousands of migrants on buses to Washington earlier this year as an affront to the Biden administration.
“It’s unimaginable. Arriving in a country and having someone kick you out on your first visit, like the governor of Texas is doing, and then trying to navigate this complex country to serve,” Adams said at an unrelated news event. with the theme on Tuesday.
Abbott’s office responded by saying the asylum seekers voluntarily chose to come to New York. The bureau did not respond to questions about the bus companies’ nondisclosure agreements.
“What is horrible is the thousands of illegal immigrants invading and overwhelming our border communities with populations smaller than a New York neighborhood, and Mayor Adams is hypocritically upset about hosting a few dozen in his sanctuary city,” Abbott said. in the statement. “If the mayor wants a solution to this crisis, he should ask President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border, something the president continues to fail to do.”
City officials say migrants need housing, legal and medical assistance
At Tuesday’s hearing, city officials detailed the challenge of providing services such as housing, legal aid and even medical assistance.
“When the buses arrive, people arrive hungry, thirsty and often sick,” Castro said. “And those are the immediate needs. Asylum seekers have a lot of unique needs.”
New York City Department of Social Services Commissioner Gary Jenkins told the hearing on “New York City’s Long-Time Shelter Admissions Problems and Recent Rise in Asylum Seekers” that migrants have been placed at 11 emergency sites: four in Manhattan, three in Queens, two in Brooklyn and two in the Bronx, he said.
The city is expected to open a specialized service center in the next two weeks, New York City Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol said. That center will mainly offer legal services and enrollment in public schools for the children who have arrived, among others. Next, they plan to refer people to community organizations as a way to enroll immigrants in different communities, Iscol said.
Adams, for his part, said he is asking for more state and federal aid, and that he hopes to speak with the Biden administration before the weekend. He also highlighted the conditions that most migrants from Texas had to endure, with a 45-hour bus ride and limited stops, although, according to him, some wanted to go to another state.
“There is nothing successful in treating people with this lack of dignity,” the mayor said.
CNN’s Isa Kaufman-Geballe contributed to this article.