Jersey Caught up in Abbott v. Adams Migrant Feud


The escalating feud between Gov. Gregg Abbott and New York City Mayor Eric Adams over the Texas Governor’s shipping of tens of thousands of asylum seeking immigrants from the southern border to New York City continues to dominate the national news as we enter into the 2024 campaign cycle. Last week New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy and the mayors of Trenton, Secaucus, and Edison got caught up in the ugly migrant controversy when the Texas chartered busses started discharging close to 1,200 asylum seekers west of the Hudson in a single day to evade New York City restrictions.

In September of 2022, Gov. Abbott, along with Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) shipped 13,000 migrants to Democratic municipalities including New York City, Chicago, Washington D..C. and Martha Vineyard in Massachusetts to draw attention to the federal government’s long standing inability to control the flow of migration across the southern border.

“All those people in D.C. and New York were beating their chests when Trump was president, saying they were so proud to be sanctuary jurisdictions, saying how bad it was to have a secure border,” DeSantis said at the time, according to The Hill. “The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they all of a sudden go berserk and they’re so upset that this is happening.”

“The migrants transported by Texas, Arizona and Florida were processed by federal border officials after entering the U.S. unlawfully and then released to continue their immigration cases inside the country,” reported CBS News at the time.

In the months since the flow has continued with Mayor Adams telling reporters at his weekly Jan. 2nd press briefing that the previous week the city had gotten 3,000 migrant asylum seekers during the previous holiday week from Texas.  “We had 164,000, almost 165,000 people who have come here, 57 percent we have been able to get stabilized because of the job that this team is doing,” Adams told reporters

Here in New Jersey, as it has in New York City and other locations that the southern states have targeted, it successfully divided local Democrats.

In Edison, Mayor Sam Joshi, a Democrat, took a hardline, telling Fox News he had a charter bus on standby to send the migrant back to the U.S. Mexican border. On other broadcast outlets he painted a perilous picture of imminent danger to his local citizens that echoed the language used by former President Donald Trump.

“Edison Township police officers did not know if any of those 40 individuals were carrying weapons,” Joshi said. “They couldn’t be identified and that is a major problem—that’s a major security risk. It’s a health risk and we just not going to tolerate that.”

In a social media posts, Joshi, a graduated from Rutgers University in Labor Studies and Political Science, expressed his “disagreement with the concept of ‘sanctuary cities and states” proclaiming he wouldn’t “allow Edison to be subjected to its consequences…Edison is a municipality with a significant immigrant population and I will continue to support legal immigration.”

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, also a Democrat, in an interview with InsiderNJ lamented that the migrants were “being used as political pawns that are being left at our doorstep.”

“I don’t think that what the Edison mayor called for, putting them on a bus and sending them back [to the southern border] resolves anything,” Gusciora said. “What this really emphasizes is how Congress has got to get back to work. They just can’t continue photo-ops on the border. They are the ones with the Constitutional responsibility in Article 1 to shape immigration policy and they really need to get to work on a bi-partisan basis.”

Gusciora, who has a degree in politics and international relations and is an attorney, told InsiderNJ, that the current immigration crisis has linked to a myriad of pre-existing U.S. policy choices like the North American Free Trade Agreement that flooded Latin American markets with cheap American multinational agricultural products decimating that collapsed the local farm economy.

“What it really goes back to is the 1960s with President Kennedy’s aim with the Alliance for Progress to spend money in Latin America and bring stabilization and economic opportunities and unfortunately the Alliance for Progress faded with the Kennedy administration,” Gusciora said. “It’s cheaper in the long run for us to help southern nations stabilize them and provide real economic opportunity for their citizens. That’s why they flee for parts north.”

In a statement, longtime Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, also a Democrat said his community would “be working closely with the Governor’s office, all law enforcement agencies and the county to monitor the situation…”

At Gov. Murphy’s  Jan. 4th press briefing he told reporters he had spoken with both Mayor Adams and Gov. Kathleen Hochul (D-NY) about the latest developments.

“This is a national issue. We need Congress to take action—period,” said Murphy. “This is not a  New Jersey or New York issue…We need comprehensive immigration reform that has elements that have to be a part of the deal. We need a responsible and humane way to secure our borders. We need a pathway for the many millions who are here to some sort of status…We need an enlightened, economy contributing—job creating—legal immigration system that’s a 21st century reality.”

Murphy continued. “In the absence of that—let’s cut the gimmicks out. So, with all due respect to the Governor of Texas and the others who are playing with people’s lives—they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Adams is leading a growing coalition of mayors from cities targeted by Gov. Abbott who are calling on the Biden administration to provide billions in aid to backstop local efforts to accommodate the migrants. Adams has called on the federal government to remove restrictions on the newcomers ability to get work legally and has made the dire prediction the status quo “will destroy New York City.”

“What I’m pleased about that our voice was the single voice in ’22, and now there’s a chorus that’s building that people are realizing that this administration, we’re doing the right thing,” Adams told reporters last week. “But they’re realizing that you can’t ignore this problem. This is a real problem. And the governor of Texas continuously states that while you guys are a sanctuary city, that has nothing to do with this. These people are paroled into the country. They’re legally here.”

In the latest twist to the story, migrants were evidently provided mass transit tickets to New York City so as to evade an executive order signed last month by Mayor Adams to require 32 hours advance notice of the incoming bus charters  to ensure the migrants got the proper health and social welfare checks  required after their arduous journey.

“The arrival of such charter buses in the City, containing large numbers of individuals who have recently arrived in the United States from other nations and who are likely to seek emergency shelter and other immediate services, without advance notice of the timing of arrival and location where such buses will disembark and without any information about the passengers on such buses, significantly impairs the City’s ability to effectively and efficiently manage the ongoing state of emergency,” attested Adams in Emergency Order 538 issued on Dec. 23rd.

Last month the vulnerability of the child migrant population was brought home for New York City social welfare workers and the Mayor’s staff personally when an 11 year-old boy from Venezuelan boy hung himself with his shoe laces in a westside Manhattan Hotel, one of several locations where the city is trying to accommodate the asylum seekers.

Back in August, Jismary Alejandra Barboza was just three years old when she died on a highway in southern Illinois aboard a migrant bus chartered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. An autopsy determined she had pneumonia and an intestinal disease.

Every year, several hundred migrants die just trying to cross the southern borderlands that include the Rio Grande as well as the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration. “U.S. Border Patrol has recorded more than 8,000 migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border since 1998,” reported the Voice of America. “Immigrant advocates say that is likely an undercount.

Dr. Ed Zuroweste is the founding medical director of the Migrant Clinicians Network who has worked for decades in a myriad of public health capacities in Pennsylvania as well as internationally.

“You are dealing with a group of individuals who have already had a very traumatic and long journey to the point that some of them are at the breaking point physically, emotionally, mentally and so if not treated kindly at that point in time it can have a really disastrous effects in both the short term and long term,” Zuroweste told InsiderNJ.

Zuroweste observed that the pressure on the nation’s southern border comes as the U.S. healthcare system, both public and private systems are “under real strain and struggling.”

James Parrott is an economist and the director of Economic and Fiscal Policies at the Center for New York City at Affairs at the New School. Parrott told InsiderNJ that in “upstate New York there is an out and out labor shortage in many areas because of the outmigration of young people to New York City or other places to seek economic opportunity.”

Parrott continued. “There’s also a pretty well established history of successful refugee resettlement in Utica, Syracuse and other upstate cities and Gov. Hochul should be trying to relocate some of the immigrants coming to New York City to upstate area where there has been population and workforce decline. The state has an office of refugee resettlement  that exists to do just that.”

While politicians on both sides of the issue have framed it as a crisis, Amy Torres, the executive director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, a non-profit advocacy group, says that such an assessment ignores history observing that during the early 20th century immigration officials were processing 10,000 new comers a day in Ellis Island.

Torres observed that during the ‘golden age’ of immigration “by and large [excepting race based exclusions] the only thing you needed to immigrate was your fare on the ship you came in on” and “we handled immigration” in a way “that grew the economy and grew communities.”

“When lawmakers say there are not enough resources or time-or that the system is under strain—essentially what they are admitting is that they as leaders of public policy—have a social safety net that is worse in 2024 than it was in 1907,” Torres told InsiderNJ. “It’s not a migration crisis. For a very long time what we have had is a shelter crisis. We have had a housing crisis. We for a very long time have had a food insecurity crisis—a crisis with economic disparities for Black and Brown communities. So, really what we are seeing is a new facet to the crisis and even scapegoating those who are most unable to defend themselves by virtue of being the most recently arrived and also facing enormous challenges.”


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3 responses to “Jersey Caught up in Abbott v. Adams Migrant Feud”

  1. For once I’ve seen a democrat who is looking
    his citizens rather than the left wing politicians
    controlling his party. Mayor Sam Joshi of Edison
    has drawn the ire of woke democrat liberals
    with his strong opposition to illegal immigration.
    He has made it clear that his town will not be
    a sanctuary city and will not provide assistance
    to New York or any others. All New Jersey residents
    should be grateful to the mayor for his willingness
    not to cave to pressure they’ve put on him.
    I urge all New Jerseyans encourage Sam to consider
    running for governor. I for one would work for
    him and urge everyone else to do to.

  2. Another hypocritical democrat! Supports the governor who declared our state a “sanctuary state,” the county commissioners declared Middlesex County a “sanctuary county” and when the illegals show up in his town, he’s upset and sends them away! You democrats reaped what you sowed! Own it!

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