FORT HANCOCK, Texas (Border Report) – New York, welcome to the party.
Those were the words of members of a visiting Republican delegation in response to New York City officials’ objections regarding Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sending busloads of unauthorized migrants to the Empire State. Texas has sent at least 1,500 migrants to the Big Apple, the governor’s office told local media.
“That’s but a small taste of everyday life on the border and they’re starting to realize it is overwhelming,” said U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas. “This has been ongoing for us not for years, but decades. Immigration and border security is not a new topic for anyone who lives and works along the border. What is, is this is the worst it’s ever been.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures show 2.2 million encounters with unauthorized migrants since Oct. 1.
The delegation included a pair of New Yorkers running for Congress. They said their state’s Democratic elected officials have no right to be outraged by Abbott’s actions given they have been welcoming flights of unauthorized migrants since 2020 and their policies incentivize illegal immigration.
“Ever since I can remember in his time in government, Mayor (Eric) Adams touted the fact that New York City was a sanctuary city,” said Anthony D’Esposito, a Republican running for New York’s 4th Congressional District. “Now that the buses are rolling through the station, now he has a problem.”
D’Esposito and fellow New Yorker Colin Schmitt, a Republican running in the 18th Congressional District there, said New York policies such as driver’s licenses and college tuition assistance for the undocumented are pull factors for illegal immigration. That “becomes a burden” not only to destination cities like New York, but also to pass-through cities along the Texas-Mexico border, Schmitt said.
“Instead of his (Adams’) anger being forced at Gov. Abbott, I think his anger should be forced at his partners in his party not only at the state level but also at the federal level,” added D’Esposito.
The GOP delegation – which earlier on Friday met with farmers and businesspeople in El Paso and Hudspeth counties, and also with members of the U.S. Border Patrol union – also promised changes and accountability when it comes to immigration if they wrestle the majority in Congress from the Democrats.
They vowed to hold the administration, particularly Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, accountable for allegedly creating a humanitarian and security crisis on the border, and to influence immigration policies by taking control of immigration agencies’ budgets.
“I represent over 800 miles of the southern border. My district has been at the forefront of this crisis coming on two years now. And this is what I’ve seen: small cities along the border get engulfed with this crisis,” Gonzales said. “Why are they not more vocal? It seems as if the Democratic mayors, the Democratic counties that run things, there is this (unwritten) rule that you can’t talk about the border, that you can’t talk about immigration. That’s wrong. Everybody should be talking about this.”
He added that Border Patrol union representatives confirmed to him reports of low morale among the rank and file, as border agents sworn to watch over the nation’s borders are instead at processing centers taking care of migrants.
“Here in El Paso, they have a capacity to house a little over 1,000 illegal aliens at any one time. They have over 2,400 in custody right now. That is not right, that is not fair,” Gonzales said.
The El Paso Office of Emergency Management on Friday confirmed that it, too, has begun busing migrants released from immigration agencies’ custody to New York.