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Migrant Buses Evading New York City’s Restrictions

Four buses carrying migrants arrived over the weekend at the Secaucus Junction Bus Plaza in New Jersey. WABC
Four buses carrying migrants arrived over the weekend at the Secaucus Junction Bus Plaza in New Jersey. WABC

By: Christian Wade | The Center Square

Busloads of migrants are evading New York City's limits on asylum seekers by using New Jersey's public transit system as a waypoint to enter the city.

An executive order signed by Mayor Eric Adams last week requires charter bus operators to give city officials at least 32 hours advance notice before arriving. It limits drop-off times to weekdays only between 8:30 a.m. and noon. Violators are subject to fines and impounding of their bus.

But Secaucus Mayor Mike Gonnelli said bus operators are exploiting a "loophole in the system" to help the migrants reach their final destination, New York City. He noted several buses full of migrants deposited their passengers at Secaucus Junction over the weekend, who boarded trains headed to New York City.

"It seems quite clear the bus operators are finding a way to thwart the requirements of the Executive Order by dropping migrants at the train station in Secaucus and having them continue to their final destination," he said in a statement. "Based on reports from the State Police this is now happening at train stations throughout the state."

Gonnelli said train tickets are being purchased for the migrants but didn't say who paid for the transit fares. He suggested that Adams’ rules may be "too stringent."

A spokesman for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey is being used as a transit point for migrants en route to New York City, and the state has tracked similar drop-offs at other New Jersey Transit stations across the state.

"We are closely coordinating with our federal and local partners on this matter, including our colleagues across the Hudson," Tyler Jones said in a statement to news outlets.

New York City has seen an influx of more than 130,000 migrants over the past year amid a surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border, with about 60,000 migrants under the city's care. Adams has proposed deep cuts in the budget to cover those costs, estimated at more than $4 billion over the next few years.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican leaders in border states have been critical of the Biden administration’s response to the surge. They’ve been busing groups of migrants to Democratic strongholds in New York, Chicago and other destinations with "sanctuary" policies.

In signing the executive order, Adams accused Abbott of using asylum seekers as "political pawns." They said the city has seen a surge of "rogue" buses transporting migrants in the middle of the night.

"This is hampering the city’s ability to manage this humanitarian crisis, including efforts to provide emergency services as needed to migrants," he said.

The Adams administration is limiting stays by migrant families in emergency shelters to 60 days amid an ongoing surge of asylum seekers. The city already limits single adult migrants to 30 days in emergency housing.

New York is the only major U.S. city that has a right-to-shelter law. Adams is asking a state judge to temporarily suspend the requirement amid the surge of migrants, but the effort is being challenged in court.

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