New Jersey is down to about 1 migrant bus arrival a day, Gov. Murphy says

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By Dan Sears

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the number of buses from Texas transporting migrants to the Garden State has slowed considerably in the last few days.

On WNYC’s monthly “Ask Governor Murphy” call-in show Wednesday night, he said it went from “four to eight buses a day down to, it feels like, one.”

“I’m not even sure one came in this morning, maybe one came in,” Murphy said.

Buses of migrants — sent by the governors of Texas and Louisiana — began arriving at New Jersey transit hubs around New Year’s weekend, apparently looking to circumvent an executive order by New York City Mayor Eric Adams restricting when and where they could arrive.

Murphy has previously said the vast majority of the chartered buses arriving in New Jersey immediately boarded trains bound for NYC, which has been struggling to find space and provide resources for the more than 160,000 migrants who’ve entered its shelter system since 2022.

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Murphy’s administration sent a letter Monday to nearly two dozen bus companies this week, asking for 32 hours’ notice before migrant buses arrive in New Jersey, the same amount of time required in Adams’ executive order. Murphy also asked for the total number of passengers and each location in New Jersey where passengers would be dropped off, saying the information is necessary to properly assist the new arrivals.

In his letter, the governor said 1,800 migrants had arrived at transit sites in New Jersey “due to the bus operators’ apparent unwillingness to transport the passengers to New York City” under the terms of Adams’ order.

But unlike that order, Murphy’s letter carries no legal force. His office described it Monday as a “demand.”

Asked on WNYC if New Jersey should be doing more to support the migrants, such as housing them in the state, Murphy said he is coordinating all action with his counterparts in New York.

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“Right now, I think if you asked New York, they would say, ‘You know what, Jersey’s cooperating, it’s a close operation,’” he said. “The bigger thing is, enough of the political stunts. Let’s get adults at the table from both parties and figure this out.”

He faulted Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott for his so-called “Operation Lone Star,” which sends migrants north and covers their transit fares to cities run by Democratic mayors, including New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Denver, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

According to Abbott’s office, Texas alone has bused more than 35,600 migrants to New York since 2022.

“The way they’re doing it, and the political gamesmanship in using these folks as pawns is completely unacceptable,” Murphy said Wednesday.

Last week, NYC sued 17 bus companies, seeking to recoup $708 million in costs and alleging the companies were carrying out Abbott’s “evil intention” of shifting the costs of the migrants’ care to sanctuary cities. Abbott responded by calling the lawsuit “baseless” and saying the migrants were traveling to the city voluntarily.

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