New York City immigrant rights groups say they’re scrambling to help the influx of newly arrived asylum seekers bused in from Texas – and now they’re demanding more government support.
As bus after bus arrives at Port Authority Bus Terminal with no clear end in sight, the New York Immigration Coalition – a group composed of hundreds of organizations across the state – is calling on the government from the city to federal level to coordinate a better plan to resettle the asylum seekers. The request comes as the city struggles to handle the ongoing arrival of asylum seekers, which appears to be straining its existing social safety nets.
The coalition group rallied on the steps of City Hall on Friday for the launch of their new Welcoming New York campaign, which seeks some $40 million from the city and state for medical services, interpreters, legal assistance, and resettlement services.
“Let’s make sure that we don’t have to continue to act on emergency mode,” said state Assemblymember Catalina Cruz of Queens. “It’s time for a real plan to welcome immigrants to New York.”
In recent months, buses from Texas have dropped off nearly 10,000 immigrants from Texas seeking asylum in the United States, according to Murad Awawdeh, director of the New York Immigration Coalition. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the immigrants to New York City, igniting an ongoing feud with Mayor Eric Adams.
The city has expanded its emergency shelter system and developed a plan to help arriving families enroll their children in school. But local providers say the city has failed to properly provide basic services like shelter, medical care, and help navigating the complex web of available social services.
Camille Mackler, executive director of legal advocacy coalition Immigrant Advocates Response Collaborative, says the lawyers and advocates in her group are “at capacity” and “burnt out.”
She added: “They cannot do this any longer without more support from our elected officials and from our government agencies.”