Migrants caught in the middle of Texas-New York political spat

ABC News spoke with migrants who have been part of groups bused from Texas to New York City in a bitter political battle between Gov. Greg Abbott and Mayor Eric Adams over immigration policy.
11:13 | 08/18/22

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Transcript for Migrants caught in the middle of Texas-New York political spat
POSSIBLE SOLUTION TO A LONG-FESTERING PROBLEM? ON THE STREETS IN NEW YORK CITY, NOISE AND CONFUSION ARE THE NORM. FOR 18-YEAR-OLD AMARO BRYAN, THIS SCENE IS A LOT TO TAKE IN. HE ARRIVED ALONG WITH BUSLOADS OF OTHER ASYLUM SEEKERS SENT TO THE BIG APPLE FROM TEXAS. THE TEEN STARTED HIS JOURNEY IN VENEZUELA BY HIMSELF. IT TOOK HIM TWO MONTHS TO REACH THE TEXAS BORDER. LITTLE DID HE KNOW HE WAS WALKING INTO THE MIDDLE OF A POLITICAL DOGFIGHT OVER THE CRISIS AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER. THE PUSH AND PULL BETWEEN THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE GOP. >> THE SECOND BUSFUL OF MIGRANT FAMILIES HAS ARRIVED IN NEW YORK CITY FROM TEXAS. >> I'VE GOT ONE THING TO TELL YOU AND TO TELL THEM, THERE ARE MORE BUSES ON THE WAY. >> THIS IS HORRIFIC WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT THE GOVERNOR IS DOING. >> Reporter: EARLIER THIS YEAR, TEXAS REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT STARTED SENDING BUSLOADS OF MIGRANTS OUT OF THE LONE STAR STATE, DROPPING THEM OFF IN CITIES WITH DEMOCRATIC MAYORS. HE SAYS THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S POLICIES INADEQUATELY SECURE THE BORDER, FORCING SOUTHERN STATES TO BEAR THE BURDEN OF MIGRANT WAVES. >> TEXANS ARE FED UP WITH WHAT THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HAS DONE ON OUR BORDER, THE CHAOS THAT IT'S CAUSED, THE DAMAGE THAT IT'S CAUSED IN THE STATE OF TEXAS. >> Reporter: NEW YORK IS A SANCTUARY CITY, MEANING IT'S MORE LENIENT WITH FEDERAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT. NEARLY DAILY FOR THE LAST TWO WEEKS, THIS IS THE SCENE PLAYING OUT AT THE PORT AUTHORITY BUS TERMINAL IN MANHATTAN. JUST TODAY, FOUR BUSES FULL OF MIGRANTS ARRIVED FROM TEXAS, MANY SEEKING ASYLUM, ALL SENT HERE BY GOVERNOR ABBOTT. >> WHAT'S INCREASINGLY HAPPENING IN NEW YORK CITY IS MANY OF THESE PEOPLE ARE SHOWING UP WITH A NOTICE OF AN ADDRESS, NOT OF A LEGAL SERVICE PROVIDER NOR THE SHELTER KNOWS TO EXPECT THEM SO YOU HAVE CREATING CHAOS IN THE SYSTEM, WHICH IS ALREADY CHAOTIC FROM THE BEGINNING. >> Reporter: THEY'RE GREETED WITH THE WELCOMING HANDSHAKE FROM THE CITY'S IMMIGRATION OFFICE AND VOLUNTEERS. NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS LOAD THE PLACE UP WITH CLOTHES, DIAPERS, FOOD, TO WELCOME THE MIGRANTS WHO OFTEN ARRIVE WITH LITTLE MORE THAN THE CLOTHES ON THEIR BACKS. >> IT'S REGULAR PEOPLE HERE IN NEW YORK BANDING TOGETHER TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR FRIENDS THAT ARE COMING IN ARE FEELING SAFE AND WELCOME AND APPRECIATED. >> Reporter: ARIANA PHILLIPS IS THE FOUNDER OF SOUTH BRONX MUTUAL AID. SHE AND A GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS ARE FOCUSED ON FINDING TRANSPORTATION. >> THEY'VE HAD A VERY LONG AND STRESSFUL JOURNEY. >> Reporter: SHE HELPED LICENSE NURSE JOANNA ALVAREZ, WHO ALSO MADE THE JOURNEY ALONE FROM VENEZUELA TO TEXAS. ALVAREZ NOW HAS TO GET ON ANOTHER BUS TO GET TO FAMILY IN UPSTATE NEW YORK. TAKING HER IN EVEN THOUGH SHE'S NEVER MET THEM. BRYAN IS ALSO HOPING FOR A FRESH START. HE PLANS TO TRY THE CITY FIRST. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR ERIC ADAMS SAYS ABBOTT IS USING MIGRANTS AS "POLITICAL PAWNS." >> IT'S THE WORST TYPE OF POLITICS, IT'S HATEFUL POLITICS, TO RAISE HIS NATIONAL PROFILE. AND YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU SHOULD NOT BE DOING IT BY TAKING AWAY THE RESPECT AND DIGNITY OF PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED. WHAT THE TEXAS GOVERNOR IS DOING IS JUST SO ANTI-AMERICAN. >> HAVE YOU SPOKEN DIRECTLY TO THE GOVERNOR? >> NO, I HAVE NOT. OUR TEAM REACHED OUT TO HIM WHEN WE FIRST DISCOVERED WHAT HE WAS DOING, AND WE ASKED, LET'S COORDINATE. BECAUSE CRISIS CALLS FOR COORDINATION. >> Reporter: THE ADAMS ADMINISTRATION SAYS THERE HAS BEEN NO COORDINATION ABOUT WHAT DAY OR TIME THE BUSES WILL ARRIVE. >> IF THE GOVERNOR OF TEXAS WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THE CONDITIONS OF THESE PEOPLE, THE FIRST THING THEY WOULD DO IS INFORM NEW YORK CITY AUTHORITIES. LOOK, A BUS IS COMING WITH SO MANY IMMIGRANTS, SOME OF THEM HAVE THESE MEDICAL CONDITIONS. >> Reporter: MAYOR ADAMS SAYS NEARLY 6,000 ASYLUM SEEKERS HAVE ARRIVED IN THE CITY SINCE MAY. MANY OF THEM DUE TO BE A BOT'S BUSING POLICY. HE SAYS THE CITY HAS OPENED 13 EMERGENCY SHELTERS TO MEET THE DEMAND. HOW CREATIVE WILL YOU HAVE TO GET TO ACCOMMODATE PEOPLE? BECAUSE THERE IS A LIMITED AMOUNT THE SPACE. >> WELL, WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT OUR HOTELS, WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THOSE SPACES THAT WE HAVE OUTSIDE OF THE MAJOR BUSINESS DISTRICTS. WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT PLACES WHERE PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO HAVE THE DIGNITY AND RESPECT THAT THEY DESERVE. >> Reporter: MIGRANTS ARE ALSO BEING BUSSED FROM TEXAS TO WASHINGTON, D.C. WHERE THE MAYOR HAS TWICE ASKED FOR HELP FROM THE NATIONAL GUARD. >> WE NEED SPACE, AND WE NEED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO BE INVOLVED. >> Reporter: GOVERNOR ABBOTT, WHO'S RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION THIS NOVEMBER, HAS TRADED VERBAL JABS WITH MAYOR ADAMS ON CABLE TV. >> YOU KNOW, I KIND OF FEEL LIKE CLINT EASTWOOD. "GO AHEAD, MAYOR, MAKE MY DAY." >> Reporter: CRITICS SAY IF HE WERE LOOKING FOR HELP HE'D BE REACHING OUT TO MAYORS OF BOTH PARTIES. >> THOSE BUSES ARE PASSING THROUGH OTHER STATES AND OTHER CITIES. HOW ABOUT SPEAKING TO THOSE MAYORS ACROSS THOSE CITIES AND OTHER GOVERNORS? STATE, HOW DO WE DO THIS TOGETHER? >> I WOULD SAY, THIS IS A CLEARLY CYNICAL POLITICAL PLOY. TO USE MIGRANTS IN A POLITICALLY CHARGED CAMPAIGN AND ELECTION YEAR. THIS IS A POLITICAL GRANDSTANDING AND SHOULD BE CALLED FOR WHAT IT IS. >> Reporter: NEW YORK HAS BEEN LEANING HEAVILY ON VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS TO HELP PICK UP THE STRAIN ON RESOURCES. IN THE SOUTH BRONX, WE MET A MOTHER FROM COLOMBIA WHO WAS BUSSED FROM TEXAS WITH HER FOUR CHILDREN. THE EXTRA 2,000 MILES AN ADDITIONAL HARDSHIP. SHE'S BEEN HERE JUST A FEW DAYS NOW. ONE OF THE AID ORGANIZATIONS IMMEDIATELY STEPPED IN AND HELPED HER. AFTER ALL THE TRAVEL TRAUMA, SHE HOPES THIS CAN BE THE START TO A STABLE LIFE. A PLACE OF EDUCATION, OPPORTUNITY, AND HAPPINESS FOR HER CHILDREN. WHAT'S YOUR MESSAGE TO THE GOVERNOR OF TEXAS ON "NIGHTLINE"? YOU WANT HIM TO TALK, YOU WANT HIM TO PICK THE PHONE UP? >> HE SHOULD PICK THE PHONE UP, WE SHOULD COMMUNICATE. >> JOINING US IS TEXAS GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT. GOVERNOR, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU'VE HEARD FROM THE MAYOR'S COMMENTS WERE. WHATSY YOU? WILL YOU COORDINATE WITH HIS OFFICE TO BRING THESE PEOPLE TO NEW YORK CITY? >> WELL, HE SAID TWO THINGS. ONE, IT WAS CRISIS. THE ENACT OF THE MATTER IS, I DON'T KNOW OF A LARGER CRISIS IN OUR 1 TREE RIGHT NOW. THIS IS A CRISIS CAUSED BY THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION. REMEMBER, TWO YEARS AGO, WE HAD THE LOWEST NUMBER OF BORDER CROSSINGS IN DECADES. TODAY WE HAVE THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF ILLEGAL CROSSINGS INTO THE UNITED STATES EVER. IF YOU SHOW YOUR VIEWERS WHAT IS GOING ON ON THE TEXAS BORDER, THEY WILL SEE IT'S A CRISIS. BEFORE WE BEGAN BUSING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS UP TO NEW YORK, IT WAS JUST TEXAS AND ARIZONA THAT BORE THE BRUNT OF ALL OF THE CHAOS AND ALL THE PROBLEMS THAT COME WITH IT. NOW THE REST OF AMERICA IS UNDERSTANDING EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON. AND THEN EARLY ON, WHEN THE MAYOR BEGAN COMPLAINING ABOUT JUST GETTING A SMALL TRICKLE OF WHAT TEXAS HAS TO DEAL WITH ALL THE TIME, I SENT HIM A LETTER AND I INVITED HIM TO COME DOWN TO THE BORDER AND SEE FIRSTHAND THE CHAOS THAT EXISTS IN TEXAS. >> NOW THAT YOU HAVE CERTAINLY THE ATTENTION OF THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK, HE SAID HE'D LIKE TO TALK WITH YOU, TALK WITH YOUR OFFICE, TO COORDINATE TRANSPORTATION MOVING FORWARD. ARE YOU OPEN UP TO THAT IDEA OF GETTING ON THE PHONE WITH HIM OR YOUR OFFICE GETTING ON THE PHONE WITH HIS OFFICE TO COORDINATE THIS EFFORT? >> FOR ONE, WE'RE ALWAYS HAPPY TO COMMUNICATE. FOR ANOTHER, YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE WAY THE PROCESS WORKS. AND THAT IS, THESE BUSES LEAVE AT UNEXPECTED TIMES. THEY DEPART WHENEVER A BUS GETS FILLED. THEY LEAVE AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF DAY, THEY GO DIFFERENT ROUTES. THE TIMING WHEN THEY AWRY, WE DON'T EXACTLY KNOW ALL THE TIME. >> YOU'RE THE GOVERNOR OF THE GREAT STATE OF TEXAS. ARE POLITICS SO DIVIDED, TENSIONS, THREATS OF VIOLENCE SO HIGH, WHY WOULD YOU USE A PHRASE LIKE "MAKE MY DAY" WHEN ADDRESSING THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY? >> LISTEN. WHEN YOU SEE SOME OF THE THINGS GOING ON, THAT'S JUST CANDID CODED LANGUAGE. WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT WE'RE HAVING TO DEAL WITH, WE'RE DEALING WITH SMUGGLERS. WE'RE DEALING WITH CARTELS. WE NEED THE MAYOR TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE THAN JUST POLITICS AND SENDING PEOPLE DOWN HERE TO KNOCK-ON DOORS AND CAMPAIGN IN THE STATE OF TEXAS. HE HAS A JOB TO DO. HE RAN FOR OFFICE TO BE A LAW AND ORDER MAYOR. HE'S FAILING AT THAT. BUT ALSO, HE'S FAILING AT ENSURING LAW AND ORDER BY ENSURING THAT THE IMMIGRATION LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ARE GOING TO BE ENFORCED. >> SOME, INCLUDING THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK, HAVE ACCUSED YOU OF USING MIGRANTS AS POLITICAL PAWNS. THE MAYOR SAID IN MY INTERVIEW WITH HIM, QUOTE, WHAT THE TEXAS GOVERNOR IS DOING IS ANTI-AMERICAN. YOU HAVE A PERSON WHO'S USING THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING REFUGE AS POLITICAL SHOWMANSHIP. HE THINKS THIS IS A THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE, AND THIS IS NOT? >> HE DIDN'T SAY TO TO PRESIDENT BIDEN WHEN PRESIDENT BIDEN WAS FLYING PEOPLE FROM TEXAS TO NEW YORK. SO HE'S REALLY NOTHING MORE THAN A HYPOCRITE. HE'S PLAYING POLITICS WITH ALL OF THIS. HE'S ALSO BEING A HYPOCRITE BECAUSE NEW YORK CITY IS A SELF-DECLARED SANCTUARY CITY. AND SO WHY HE'S EVER COMPLAINING FOR ONE MOMENT ABOUT THESE PEOPLE BEING BUSSED INTO A CITY GOES AGAINST HIS OWN SELF DECLARATION OF BEING A SANCTUARY CITY. >> I THINK ALL REASONABLE PEOPLE RECOGNIZE THERE ARE ISSUES AT THE BORDER BETWEEN YOUR GREAT STATE AND MEXICO AND ARIZONA AS WELL. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION DO? >> SO HAVING BEEN A TEXAN MY ENTIRE LIFE, AND HAVING BEEN A PUBLIC OFFICIAL ON THE BORDER, I'VE SEEN WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOES NOT WORK. THERE WERE FOUR POLICIES THAT WERE PUT IN PLACE THAT WORKED BETTER THAN ANYTHING THAT'S WORKED IN ABOUT FOUR DECADES. AND THAT IS, BUILDING THE BORDER WALL. ELIMINATING CATCH AND RELEASE. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF TITLE 42 POLICY. AS WELL AS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REMAIN IN MEXICO POLICY. THEN SENDING A MESSAGE THAT THE BORDER IS CLOSED. >> GOVERNOR, WE'RE SO GRATEFUL FOR YOUR TIME. THIS IS A LONG CONVERSATION. I HOPE YOU'LL COME BACK ON THE BROADC

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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