Mayors of Sanctuary Cities Introduced Measures to Slow Down Surge of Migrants

The efficacy of these policies is already being called into question. 

John Lamparski/AP

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After more than a year of Gov. Greg Abbott continuously busing as many as 150,000 migrants to US sanctuary cities, leaders in some of these destinations are implementing new measures in an effort to slow down the influx. Mayors in New York, Denver, and Chicago have ordered that bus drivers coordinate migrant arrivals with city officials. If they don’t, drivers can face impoundment, fines, and even jail time. 

“We cannot allow buses with people needing our help to arrive without warning any hour of day and night,” New York Mayor Eric Adams said on Wednesday in a virtual press conference with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Denver Mayor Mike Johnston.

 As the New York Times described in an expansive exposé this week, New York City’s response to the new arrivals has been a disaster, described as “a herky-jerky, costly approach to crisis management” that exemplifies “the city’s struggle to keep up with the ebb and flow of migrants.”

On Wednesday, Adams signed an executive order creating new guidelines for buses carrying asylum seekers to follow before dropping riders off in the city, including: 

  • Requiring charter buses carrying 10 or migrants to provide 32 hours’ notice before arriving in the city
  • Only permitting drop-off in designated locations from Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and noon
  • Not allowing dropping off of asylum seekers on city-observed holidays
  • Requiring a manifest of all passengers, including the number of single adults and families traveling

Violations of these guidelines will result in a Class B misdemeanor, resulting in up to 3 months jail time or up to $2,000 in fines for drivers, according to CNN. Chicago and Denver have also passed similar policies. But only a few days after the policies were implemented, their efficacy is already being called into question. 

Recent reports claim that bus drivers have been dropping migrants off outside of Chicago city limits, bypassing the new rules altogether, according to the New York Times. Immigration advocates, several of whom are reportedly working on the ground to aid the arriving migrants, have pointed out major holes in New York’s executive order, including that it doesn’t apply to buses with permission to drop migrants off inside terminals, nor does it account for migrants paying for their own bus or airfare.

“Instead of stepping to the side and actually supporting the organizations that are on the frontline, that have connections, that are trying to make this as smooth as possible, they want to pick a fight with Texas,” Power Malu, a member of the New York-based nonprofit Artists Athletes Activists, told the Times. “There’s no logic behind this.” 

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