Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, who for the last year has bused migrants from his home state to New York City, used an appearance in Manhattan on Wednesday to voice what have become familiar complaints about the effect of the Biden administration’s immigration policy on the southern border.
But the Republican governor also described New York in a surprising way: The city’s handling of its migrant influx is “calm and organized,” he said, compared with what was happening in his own state.
“We have crime taking place in ways you don’t see in New York,” he added, without citing any examples.
Mr. Abbott has been cast as a partisan villain by Mayor Eric Adams, who has blamed the governor for opening a floodgate to New York, calling the tactics “inhumane.”
Speaking at an event hosted by the Manhattan Institute at the Yale Club, Mr. Abbott did not directly address the mayor’s characterization, even as he acknowledged sending 15,800 migrants to New York, about 10 percent of the nearly 120,000 who have arrived in the city in the past 12 months.
Still, the governor said on Wednesday that he was not the problem: “The lead importer of migrants to New York is not Texas,” Mr. Abbott said. “It’s Joe Biden.”
On that point, Mr. Adams has at times seemed to agree. He has faulted the White House for not doing more to provide aid to the city and has said the president is “failing” New York City. Last week, when the president visited the city, the two did not meet.
But after the president’s visit, the Biden administration announced it would grant a special status to Venezuelan migrants to allow them legally apply to jobs, something the mayor and Gov. Kathy Hochul had been lobbying for.
That was not, in fact, the immigration policy change Mr. Abbott had in mind.
“There probably could not be a worse strategy, a worse policy than temporary protected status,” Mr. Abbott said. “Temporary protected status leads to permanent magnet status. They’ll be attracting millions and more people to come to this country illegally.”
President Biden and Mr. Abbott are currently in court over Texas’s controversial buoy system — a floating barrier in the Rio Grande that is meant to deter illegal entry but that federal authorities say increases the risk that migrants will drown. Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered Mr. Abbott to remove the buoys by Sept. 15. Mr. Abbott said at Wednesday’s breakfast that “the buoys still remain in place as we speak.”
Crossings have been increasing along the southern border over the last month, to about 9,000 people per day — one of the highest rates in recent history. The number of people coming to New York has also continued to surge, according to city officials.
About half the people who have come to the city are staying in the homeless shelter system, which the Adams administration has said has long passed its breaking point. To reduce the population, the city recently instituted a 60-day limit for stays by migrant adults without children, which began to go into effect last week.
The city said migrants who were asked to move out could reapply for shelter, but it has also offered tickets on planes or buses to anywhere else they wanted to go.
While Mr. Adams has said the migrant situation “will destroy New York City,” Mr. Abbott had a far different assessment.
“You have people dropped off in buses at city centers,” he said on Wednesday. “We have people who are being pushed across the border by the cartels by the thousands.”
The comments were a break from his party’s more typical talking points about rising crime in coastal Democratic cities; earlier this year congressional Republicans held a hearing in the city entitled “Victims of Violent Crime in Manhattan.”
“What does a typical day look like in New York City with regard to the migration process?” Mr. Abbott said. “It is completely different than what we are dealing with every single day on the border.”