Men, women and children who boarded the buses in El Paso poured out at the bus terminal, with many saying they came from Venezuela.
“We stopped for food, but not a lot of people had cash to buy any food. I’m so, so hungry,” said Gustavo Pacheco, 35, who was waiting for relatives from New Jersey to pick him up.
Pacheco was wearing an American flag T-shirt that said “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” along with broken plastic sandals, his swollen feet covered with bug bites. He said it took one month to get from Venezuela to the US border and then a two-day bus ride to the Big Apple.
Jan Romero, 35, also from Venezuela, said New York relatives were coming to get him. He took off his sneakers to show how cut up his feet were after crossing a river for three days.
“I am excited about all of the opportunities here,” Romero said. “I plan on working. I’m a really good car mechanic.”
Another asylum seeker said he doesn’t have family in New York and doesn’t know why he’s here.
One young boy wearing an oversized backpack got off the bus with a big smile on his face and waved at reporters.
Power Maul, with the nonprofit Artists Athletes Activists, lifted the boy off the bus and greeted the other migrants. He said he wanted to let everyone know they were welcome in the Big Apple but acknowledged the challenges.
“We know we have a huge homeless problem here in New York City as it is. Hopefully, this will shine a light on an already broken shelter system,” Maul said.
One man heckled the migrants, shouting, “There a lot of people who needs help, who sleeps in the streets. We don’t need no more people out here. Help people here who is in the street here in New York.”
He was quickly moved away by police officers.
Migrant crisis moves North: Here’s what’s happening around the country as border states bus migrants around the US
- National Guard called into Martha’s Vineyard for 50 migrants
- Migrants dropped off on Kamala Harris’ DC doorstep dispute her ‘secure’ border claim: ‘We come in free, no problem’
- Flood of migrants helps lead to worst NYC shelter failure in more than decade
- DC now a ‘border town’ as mayor declares public emergency over bussed migrants
- Huge rise in border deaths from drowning, dehydration overwhelm Texas border town’s morgues
Some of the new arrivals were put on an MTA busheaded to a shelter in the Bronx.
The migrants have been bused to New York both by El Paso officials — under and apparent agreement between its Democratic mayor and NYC Mayor Adams — and by GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whom Adams has criticized. An estimated 8,000 migrants have flooded into the Big Apple in recent weeks.
The El Paso City-County Office of Emergency Management has been sending charter buses here since Aug. 23. More than 1,000 migrants have flooded El Paso since the non-profit shelters in the region filled up earlier this month, according to a report.
The El Paso City Council Monday signed a $2 million contract with a charter bus company to move the migrants out faster, El Paso Matters reported.