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Hundreds of migrants dropped off in New Jersey, bypassing New York City restrictions


By Zenebou Sylla and Polo Sandoval, CNN

(CNN) — A migrant surge continues to overwhelm authorities at the US-Mexico border — and in US cities where many asylum-seekers are being sent.

Here are the latest developments:

Transit points in New Jersey have been used by buses to evade new rules aimed at curbing the massive numbers of arrivals in New York City. This weekend, at least four buses stopped at the Secaucus Junction train station in New Jersey, according to a news release from Secaucus’ mayor.

“From what we understand after being dropped at the train station the migrants then took trains to New York City,” Michael 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.”

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,” he said.

The New York City order, issued last week by Mayor Eric Adams, requires charter bus companies to provide city emergency management officials manifests of their passengers and their anticipated drop-off times and locations at least 32 hours before they arrive.

Adams issued the order in response to a monthslong effort by Texas and some 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.

In nearby Jersey City, the 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,” it said Sunday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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

Texas has bused more than 33,600 migrants to New York City since August 2022, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott touted Friday.

“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 Monday in a statement to CNN.

“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 Gov. Phil Murphy.

The arrivals in the New York area come as US-Mexico border authorities in December encountered more than 225,000 migrants, the highest monthly total recorded since 2000, according to preliminary Homeland Security statistics shared with CNN.

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

Hundreds of asylum-seekers also arrived over the weekend at Rockford International Airport in Illinois. It was “the second recorded instance of the Texas governor transporting asylum-seekers via private plane,” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, a Democrat, said in a post on X.

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

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

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

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

Chicago has begun impounding and towing buses under a new city ordinance to contend with “rogue buses” from Texas dropping off migrants throughout the city.

Senator cites border crisis in delaying aid to Ukraine and Israel

The border crisis also is having US diplomatic ramifications: Republicans will maintain aid cannot be passed to Ukraine and Israel unless there is also a deal on border security, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday.

“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.

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, the senator said, adding if former President Donald Trump is reelected, there will be mass deportation of migrants.

Mexican officials set to visit Washington

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.

The visit will follow a high-level US delegation to Mexico City – including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas – yielded some progress on boosting enforcement on the Mexican side of the border.

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

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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