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Hundreds of migrants dropped off in New Jersey, bypassing NYC restrictions


By Zenebou Sylla and Polo Sandoval, CNN

(CNN) — Several buses transporting migrants to New York City are using transit points in New Jersey to evade new rules issued by the mayor aimed at curbing the massive numbers of migrants being sent to the city.

The order, issued last week by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, requires charter bus companies carrying migrants to New York City to provide NYC emergency management officials manifests of their passengers and their anticipated drop-off times and locations at least 32 hours in advance of their arrival.

Adams issued the order in response to a months-long effort by Texas and several other Republican-led states to send tens of thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers on planes and buses to major cities with Democratic mayors, often with little or no notice.

This weekend, at least four buses stopped at the Secaucus Junction train station, with the first bus arriving Saturday morning, according to a news release from Secaucus, NJ Mayor Michael Gonnelli.

“From what we understand after being dropped at the train station the migrants then took trains to New York City,” Gonnelli said. “At this point in time it seems train tickets are being secured for the migrants and they have been making their way to their final destination.”

Gonnelli said it appeared “bus operators have figured out a loophole in the system in order to ensure the migrants reach their final destination, which is New York City.”

In a Sunday post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Jersey City said its office of emergency management learned “approximately 10 busses from various locations in Texas and one from Louisiana have arrived at various transit stations throughout the state, including Secaucus, Fanwood, Edison, Trenton,” with nearly 400 migrants.

New York City has received more than 14,700 new arrivals within the last month, Adams said last week. The mayor added last week that “14 chartered buses with migrants arrived overnight from Texas, the highest recorded number in a single night.”

On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott touted his state has bused more than 33,600 migrants to New York City since August 2022.

“Abbott continues to treat asylum seekers like political pawns, and is instead now dropping families off in surrounding cities and states in the cold, dark of night with train tickets to travel to New York City,” a spokesperson for New York City Hall said in a statement to CNN Monday.

“This is exactly why we have been coordinating with surrounding cities and counties since before issuing our order to encourage them to take similar executive action to protect migrants against this cruelty,” the spokesperson said.

CNN has reached out to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for comment.

More than 300 migrants flown on private plane from Texas to Illinois

Over the weekend, hundreds of asylum-seekers also arrived at the Rockford International Airport in Illinois, CNN previously reported. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a post on X it was “the second recorded instance of the Texas governor transporting asylum-seekers via private plane.”

The migrants arrived at around 1 a.m. local time Sunday morning and were then put on buses headed to Chicago.

Rockford city officials said on Facebook if more flights land there, they will activate the local Emergency Operations Center “to coordinate logistics and planning to ensure the safety of all involved throughout this process.”

Texas has sent more than 28,000 asylum-seekers to the Chicago area since August 2022, according to a news release from Abbott.

On Sunday, Mayor Johnson described the “unsustainable” situation in Chicago as “an international and federal crisis that local governments are being asked to subsidize” on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Earlier this month, Chicago began impounding and towing buses after passing a city ordinance to contend with “rogue buses” from Texas dropping off migrants throughout the city, CNN previously reported.

Senator Graham cites border crisis in delaying aid to Ukraine and Israel

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican representing South Carolina, said Sunday Republicans will maintain their position that aid cannot be passed to Ukraine and Israel unless there is also a deal on border security.

“Ukraine, I want to help desperately, but we have to help ourselves,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I cannot come back to South Carolina and talk about giving aid to Ukraine and Israel if the border is still broken.”

Graham called the border crisis a “national security nightmare for America,” and said he hopes Republicans are on board with negotiations to pass aid.

The senator said negotiators plan to ask the Biden administration to start using Title 42, a pandemic-era restriction that allowed authorities to swiftly turn away migrants at the border that has since expired, to deport people crossing the border. He also said if former president Donald Trump is reelected, there will be mass deportation of migrants.

Mexican officials to visit Washington for continued border discussions

Mexican leaders will visit Washington in January to meet with Biden administration officials to continue discussions on curbing the influx of migration into the US, CNN previously reported.

The visit will come after a high-level delegation to Mexico City, which included Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, yielded some progress on boosting enforcement on the Mexican side of the border.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council called the trip “productive” and said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador “has taken significant new enforcement actions” regarding migration.

The US has recorded a dramatic uptick in migrants crossing the southern border. In December, border authorities encountered more than 225,000 migrants along the US-Mexico border, marking the highest monthly total recorded since 2000, according to preliminary Homeland Security statistics shared with CNN.

The meeting in Washington will “assess progress and decide what more can be done,” according to the National Security Council.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Sarah Dewberry, Casey Gannon, and Zoe Sottile contributed to this report.

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