New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's office has reportedly confirmed that the Garden State is being used as a "transit point" for migrant buses in response to New York City Mayor Eric Adams' new executive order attempting to regulate how so-called asylum seekers continue arriving in the Big Apple.
"Our Administration has tracked the recent arrival of a handful of buses of migrant families at various NJ TRANSIT train stations," Murphy's spokesperson Tyler Jones said in a statement reported by Politico. "New Jersey is primarily being used as a transit point for these families — all or nearly all of them continued with their travels en route to their final destination of New York City. We are closely coordinating with our federal and local partners on this matter, including our colleagues across the Hudson."
The mayors of Secaucus and Fanwood, New Jersey, have both reported the arrivals of migrant buses to train stations in their communities. Trenton’s mayor, Reed Gusciora, told Politico that NJ Transit officials informed his city of buses of people arriving at Trenton’s train station stop, but claimed it was unclear if those individuals would be migrants.
In a since deleted post on social media, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who is running for governor in 2025, wrote, "This is clearly going to be a statewide conversation so important that we wait for some guidance from the Governor here on next steps as busses continue," according to Politico.
Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli on Sunday accused the migrant buses of bypassing New York City's executive order through a "loophole."
According to the mayor. Secaucus police and town officials had been told by Hudson County officials about the arrival of buses at the train station in Secaucus Junction beginning Saturday. He said four buses were believed to have arrived and dropped off migrants who then took trains into New York City. Gonnelli said the executive order signed recently by Mayor Eric Adams of New York requires bus operators to provide at least 32 hours' advance notice of arrivals and to limit the hours of drop-off times.
"It seems quite clear the bus operators are finding a way to thwart the requirements of the executive order by dropping migrants at the train station in Secaucus and having them continue to their final destination," Gonnelli said in a statement. He suggested that the order may be "too stringent" and is resulting in "unexpected consequences."
Gonnelli called the tactic a "loophole" bus operators have found to allow migrants to reach New York City, and added that state police have reported that "this is now happening at train stations throughout the state." Gonnelli vowed to work with state and county officials and to "continue to monitor this situation closely."
A message posted on a social media account for Jersey City said the city’s emergency management agency reports that "approximately 10 buses from various locations in Texas and one from Louisiana have arrived at various transit stations throughout the state, including Secaucus, Fanwood, Edison, Trenton."
About 397 migrants had arrived at those locations since Saturday, the post said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
On December 27, Adams issued an executive order requiring the operators of any charter buses carrying migrants bound for the Big Apple to provide 36-hour advanced notification to New York City’s Commissioner of Emergency Management about their intended arrival, as well as a manifest of passengers, including information about how many migrants are traveling as single adults versus as families. The order requires the drop-offs be timed between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and limits bus drop-off locations.
A City Hall spokesperson said last week that the Big Apple had "led the nation in responding to this national humanitarian crisis, providing compassion, care, shelter, and vital services to more than 161,000 migrants" since spring 2022, taking aim at Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for allegedly treating asylum seekers "like political pawns" and dropping off families in surrounding areas "in the cold, dark of night with train tickets to travel to New York City" as was done in Chicago in response to a similar executive order there.
Adams last week joined mayors of Chicago and Denver to renew pleas for more federal help and coordination with Texas over the growing number of asylum-seekers arriving in their cities by bus and plane.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.