Abbott, Adams continue war of words over migrant crisis


(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are continuing to trade barbs over the immigration crisis and Abbott’s busing of migrants from the southern border to the “sanctuary” city.

On Sunday, Abbott fired back at Adams over his comments last week that the Republican chief executive is “morally bankrupt” and is using migrants as “political pawns” in the debate over illegal immigration.

Abbott also reiterated his argument that President Joe Biden’s policies forced him to bus migrants to New York and other Democratic-led cities, accusing Adams of “aiding and abetting” the immigration crisis with “sanctuary” policies that restrict cooperation with federal immigration officials.

“Our country is being invaded in ways that put our country at risk because of the political games that Joe Biden has played,” Abbott told Fox News Sunday. “He [Adams] needs to step up and do his job as mayor and protect the people in his community, as opposed to gimmicks about what’s going on on the border.”

The criticism follows a back-and-forth between the two leaders after Abbott visited New York City on Thursday to headline an annual gathering of the state Republican Party, where Abbott bashed Adams and Biden over their handling of the migrant crisis.

Adams, a Democrat, criticized Abbott’s visit to the city but offered for him a complimentary stay in a city-run homeless shelter “so he can see what he has created” by bussing migrants to the city.

The two men have been at odds over Abbott’s decision to bus asylum seekers from Texas to New York City, Chicago and other major U.S. cities. Adams ripped the move, calling Abbott a “madman,” and filed a lawsuit against bus companies handling the relocations for more than $700 million. At least one bus company has vowed to stop transporting migrants while the legal challenge plays out.

New York City has seen more than 185,000 asylum seekers arrive over the past year amid a historic surge of immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border. The city has spent over $4 billion to provide shelter, food and other necessities for tens of thousands of migrants under its care.

To be sure, Adams has called on the Biden administration and Congress for more federal funding to help cover the cost of providing for migrants and has said the influx of new arrivals could “destroy” his city.

In January, Abbott said more than 100,000 migrants had been bused to “sanctuary” cities, including New York City, Chicago, Denver, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Los Angeles over the past two years. The $150 million busing program is largely taxpayer-funded.

During Thursday’s event in New York City, Abbott said he originally planned to only bus migrants to Washington, D.C. — dropping them off at Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence — until Adams started claiming that the migrants were arriving in the Big Apple.

“We were sending them only to Washington, D.C., and quite literally out of nowhere, Mayor Adams starts criticizing me for sending them to New York City,” Abbott said in remarks. “So after a while, I figured, gosh, if I’m gonna get the criticism, I’m gonna get the credit.”

But Adams’ spokesman Fabien Levy, disputed that claim in a post on social media that Abbott “lied in 2022 about this and falsely claimed we never reached out when we found he was bussing migrants to NYC before he finally admitted to doing so.”