El Paso’s city government chartered a bus that sent 35 Venezuelan migrants to New York City, where officials have complained about buses from Texas bringing migrants without warning.
The bus trip this week was meant to address the growing number of people coming from Venezuela and crossing the border from Mexico. However, the buses have strained social services in New York, which has promised to shelter virtually every unhoused person.
According to Border Report, El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino said the bus was to “provide for the safety of the migrants from the elements and to preserve the community’s transitory hospitality shelter capacities so they may continue to serve our homeless community.”
The travel costs for migrants are covered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s emergency food and shelter grant.
Some migrants told The Texas Tribune they thought the busing was a helpful way to reach their final destinations after a long journey.
“It’s a journey that we never expected to experience,” Roxeli, a Venezuelan migrant, said aboard an El Paso United Charters bus heading to New York City on Tuesday. “It was a rough environment. We had to cross oceans, rivers, jungles — countries where perhaps we weren’t welcome.”
The bus from El Paso was one of five that arrived in New York City on Thursday, according to Shaina Coronel, director of communications with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. While the majority of immigrants were from Venezuela, some also came from Colombia and other countries.
The charter bus from El Paso is similar to a controversial program launched by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has been sending migrants to Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Abbott has transported more than 7,400 migrants to Washington and more than 1,500 to New York. However, many of these trips have not been coordinated with the city of New York.
“Texas Gov. Abbott’s office remains unwilling to coordinate and communicate with us on when these buses are arriving and how many people they’re carrying, but we’ve been working with nonprofits on the ground [in Texas] to prepare as best we could,” Coronel said.
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