Smiling migrants were posing for selfies in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday while lining up to board buses headed to New York City and Chicago — after Mayor Eric Adams claimed that asylum-seekers were being relocated by force.
Migrant men, women and children were gathered at the Migrant Welcome Center operated by the City of El Paso and the Office of Emergency Management.
Several buses were seen in the center’s parking lot, with migrants lined up alongside them to prepare for boarding.
As the people stood in the line, clutching plastic bags and backpacks, a woman in a facemask was observed taking a selfie with her cellphone, as a man behind her smiled for the camera and a young girl flashed a “V” for victory sign.
El Paso — a city of 660,000 located on the border with Mexico — has been overwhelmed by an influx of migrants averaging 2,000 people a day.
El Paso City Council members on Wednesday penned a letter to Mayor Oscar Leeser, asking him to issue a Disaster Declaration over the surge of migrants, which has seen the city spending $300,000 daily to shelter, feed and bus them to New York and Chicago.
In September alone, the city could spend up to $10 million on migrants, diverting funds from vital services like the fire and police departments. A Disaster Declaration would shift some of the burden onto state and federal governments.
In a separate open letter published on Wednesday, Blake Barrow, CEO of the El Paso Rescue Mission, begged the Biden administration for help with the migrant crisis.
Barrow also said that about 20% of the migrants receiving help from his organization choose New York City as their final destination and are not being taken there against their will.
“I am not aware of anyone being placed on a bus to New York who did not want to go there,” the chairy boss wrote.
In an interview in August, New York City Mayor Adams claimed that that migrants were being “forced” onto buses headed for the Big Apple, even if they wanted to go elsewhere.
Adams has repeatedly slammed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, for sending busloads of migrants to the Big Apple over the summer. But despite that, he agreed to accept more asylum seekers when asked to do so by the mayor of El Paso, who’s a fellow Democrat.
According to the latest data, a record 13,000 migrants have arrived in New York City after crossing the southern border, overwhelming the local shelter system.
On Tuesday, Adam refused to blame President Biden for the escalating migrant crisis, and instead pointed a finger at GOP governors like Texas’ Abbott and Florida’s Ron DeSantis for shipping off migrants to Democratic strongholds as part of a “political stunt.”