Posted For: Willie Wonka
By Georgett Roberts
Two busloads of migrants arrived in the Big Apple on Friday amid the city’s spiraling shelter crisis — including several infected with COVID-19 and one so sick he was expected to be hospitalized.
City Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro said an unspecified “number” of the 89 asylum seekers sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tested positive for COVID-19 after disembarking outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
“We’re going to isolate people who have COVID-19 and alert — if they are staying at shelters — alert the shelters about this,” Castro said.
An unidentified man believed to be in his 30s was “very, very sick” and was “being given medical attention,” Castro said.
“We are going to be likely transporting this person to a hospital,” he said.
“We have isolated this person because it might be COVID-19, we are unsure.”
Castro added: “These individuals have crossed the border, have had journeys of many months, then have to take a bus for three, four days. So, it might be exhaustion, it may be any number of things.”
The latest influx of asylum seekers came one day after The Post exclusively revealed that the crushing demand for beds at city homeless shelters recently led four migrants to use charity gift cards to buy bus tickets to Washington, DC
Homeless New Yorkers have also been complaining that migrants were receiving better treatment than them at the Bellevue Men’s Shelter, with Navy veteran Ronald Francois, 55, fuming: “Let me tell you: They’re getting everything real quick.”
A volunteer worker who greeted Friday’s migrants said the city’s shelters were at their “breaking point,” adding that conditions were “terrible in there.”
Yesenia Benitez also blasted Mayor Eric Adams, telling the Daily Mail that he “showed up once for a press conference and that’s all they’ve done.”
Meanwhile, Adams went on a morning talk show blitz Friday to claim that no one could have been as prepared for the crisis as his administration.
“We have a continuous display of humanitarian assistance as asylum seekers arrived here, and I’m really proud of the response of all of our multi agencies’ interaction,” Adams said in a phone interview with WCBS 880.
Abbott, a Republican, has been sending busloads of migrants to Democrat-controlled New York City and Washington, DC, to protest President Biden’s “irresponsible open border policies” and their impact on border towns in the Lone Star State.
New York City’s already strained shelter system has been called upon to accommodate the newcomers, who have been arriving in a steady stream and seeking aid.On Friday, 89 men, women and children bused in from Texas were met at Port Authority by bilingual legal advisers with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, who helped them go through paperwork at a table laden with Dunkin’ Donuts refreshments.
There were also nurses on hand administering COVID tests to the group, as well as measuring their blood pressure and temperature.
Castro told The Post that some people arrived without their medications, including children who were given insulin. Others were suffering from stomach problems and were in need of medical help.
After receiving clothes and boxes of takeaway food, they were escorted out to the bustling transportation hub and ushered into cabs or ride-share cars. Some appeared confused and unsure where they were headed.
“We have also seen people who are exhausted, dehydrated,” Castro said. “It’s been a long journey for many of them.
When asked if the migrants had been forced by Texas officials to get on the buses to New York, Castro said the mayor’s administration was trying to determine that.
“We are asking the federal government to look closely at this situation,” he said. “Gov. Abbott needs to be held accountable if that is the case, and we hope that the people of Texas will hold Governor Abbott accountable for his actions.
“He has shown that he is someone not to be trusted. He has fermented anti-immigrant hatred and he is distracting from the fact that he is failing as a governor and failing his people and he’s using immigrants and asylum seekers as his political pawns.”
Castro doubled down that New York is “proud to be a sanctuary city” that welcomes all immigrants and asylum seekers.
Meanwhile, the mayor touted his administration’s response to the migrant crisis.
“We’ve made sure shelter was allocated for close to 5,000 individuals,” he told WCBS. “The city has done an amazing job and the people that are employed in the agencies that must carry this out.”
When asked about reports that 600 asylum seekers were being housed in one Midtown shelter, which is a violation of a state law limiting shelters to 200 beds, Adams said he was not aware of that.
“I will look into it if that’s happening,” he said. “We will always follow the law. And if there are any missteps, we will always take corrective actions because our goal is to make sure we are using proper humanitarian response to this crisis we’re facing.”
Adams also disputed exclusive reporting by The Post that migrants were receiving preferential treatment at city shelters compared to homeless locals, leaving some of them grumbling.The Post reported this week that asylum seekers coming from Texas were being given new backpacks and gift cards from Catholic Charities, which at least four of them had cashed in to travel to DC after failing to find free beds at a Manhattan shelter, a source said.
“That is not true. Everyone is treated with the level of dignity that they deserve,” Adams said of the preferential treatment claims during an interview with Fox 5’s “Good Day New York.”
Adams also used his bully pulpit to take a swipe at Abbott and accused the Republican governor of being “un-American.”“He’s not a representation of what I believe in a governor should be, or that any American should be,” Adams argued.
“This is a country where the Statue of Liberty sits in the harbor of New York. We will always welcome immigrants and we showed and displayed to the entire globe our humanitarian response to crises.”
Adams also criticized the Texas governor for putting people on buses for a 45-hour cross-country journey “under false promises,” often without food or medications, without coordinating the travel with New York City, state officials, or the federal government. “And it’s unfortunate that he chose to carry out this humanitarian crisis in this way,” the mayor added.