Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office on Thursday dismissed complaints by New York City officials about the use of wristbands to track illegal immigrants being transported to the Big Apple — describing the outrage as “fearmongering.”
CBS New York reported that illegal immigrants who have been bused from Texas to New York City are arriving with wristbands that include a barcode on them.
Just over 1,000 migrants have been bused so far to New York City, in addition to over 7,000 that have been sent voluntarily to Washington D.C. While the numbers are just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of migrants that hit the border each month, Democratic officials in both states have declared themselves overwhelmed and called for federal aid.
Officials in New York City have been deeply critical about Abbott’s buses and additionally condemned the use of wristbands, which were removed from migrants when they arrived at Port Authority, as cruel.
“Gov. Abbott is bar-coding people and treating them as less than human, as if they were cattle,” Manuel Castro, the city’s Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, told CBS. “I was incredibly shocked when I saw children with bracelets and bar codes and security personnel treating them as less than human beings.”
Castro also claimed that: “It appears to us that asylum seekers are being asked to wear these bracelets with these bar codes to intimidate them, to scare them into remaining on these buses until they arrive in New York City.”
In a response to the outrage from Big Apple officials, Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze told Fox News Digital that Mayor Eric Adams and his administration “need to stop with the baseless lies and fearmongering.”
“These bracelets are standard protocol for voluntary transport by the Texas Division of Emergency Management and have been used during times of natural disasters like hurricanes when needing to transport people to safety,” she said in a statement.
Eze said the system, designed to ensure accurate and safe travel, has been adopted by other states due to its successful implementation in Texas. The bracelets contain the migrants’ information as well as the voluntary consent waivers that are signed by migrants as they board the buses.
“This process also helps ensure we are only transporting migrants who have been processed and released by the federal government with federal documentation that allows them to move about the country,” she said.”Instead of spreading falsehoods and complaining about a few hundred migrants being bused to his sanctuary city, Mayor Adams should call on President Biden to take immediate action to secure the border – something the President continues failing to do.”
The fight over the wristbands marks the latest in an ongoing battle between Abbott and NYC officials. Adams has slammed Abbott as an “un-American” governor and has floated sending New Yorkers to Texas to campaign against him ahead of the gubernatorial election.
“He’s a global embarrassment because this is not what we do as Americans, all of us,” he said earlier this month. “And I’m sure if he goes into his lineage, he came from somewhere and if his ancestors were treated the way he’s treated these asylum seekers and migrants, then he would not be where he is right now.”
Abbott has been unswayed by the criticism coming his way from both the cities and the White House, saying that he intends to keep sending buses to both cities as the raging crisis at the border continues.
“Texas will continue busing migrants to NYC & D.C. to help our overrun border communities,” Abbott said Friday.
He has repeatedly drawn attention to New York City’s status as a sanctuary city — offering social services to those in the country illegally and limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
“Adams talked the talk about being a sanctuary city — welcoming illegal immigrants into the Big Apple with warm hospitality. Talk is cheap. When pressed into fulfilling such ill-considered policies, he wants to condemn anyone who is pressing him to walk the walk,” he said in a New York Post op-ed.
On Thursday, Adam’s office responded saying that hypocrisy “is claiming you love America and then decrying the words on the Statue of Liberty.”
“To be clear, @NYCMayor is welcoming asylum seekers with open arms,” press secretary Fabien Levy tweeted. They deserve more than being used by a governor who only cares about reelection.”