A South Bronx group that welcomed migrants bused to the city from Texas was working Saturday to arrange housing for the new arrivals.
“This has been an overwhelming experience,” said Ariadna Phillips, an organizer with South Bronx Mutual Aid. “Refugees are arriving here without money, without contacts, and we’re under duress.”
The group is one of the agencies greeting the new arrivals at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, with Phillips saying meetings with developers have since led to the availability of 350 housing units.
“We’re going to welcome them to this city,” she said as a group of about 15 asylum seekers, including two young children, gathered at a Mott Haven restaurant. The new arrivals, asked if they wanted to stay in the city or go elsewhere, unanimously expressed a desire to remain in the five boroughs.
“It is what I thought from the movies,” said one migrant when asked for his opinion of the city. “Many people.”
The man started his trip to New York in Venezuela, and recounted a harrowing trip to the U.S. border before boarding a bus east. He claims he was threatened by immigration officers in Mexico, who said they would make the man turn back.
“I’m feeling a bit better,” said the man, who declined to give his name. “For now.”
The migrants remain caught in the battle between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mayor Adams, with the Lone Star State politician loading the migrants on buses for the Times Square transit hub.
“Eric Adams + Greg Abbott neglect migrants,” read a sign held by one woman.
None of migrants would share their names and organizers of the event tried to keep them separate from reporters who asked about their experiences since they arrived in the city.
Some of the new arrivals said their immigration papers were stolen in the shelters. Another who identifies as queer said he was force to bolt from a single men’s shelter after an assault.