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Busing Migrants To East Coast Cities May Unintentionally Increase Their Odds Of Asylum

Texas Gov. Greg Abbot and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey continue to bus hundreds of migrants to Washington D.C. and New York City in a ploy to rally their base. But the New York City website Gothamist recently reported that this may, ironically, increase migrants’ chances of staying in the United States. 

The refugees are far more likely to have their asylum cases approved in New York City Courts than they would be in the more hardline courts in Texas, said Austin Kocher, an assistant professor at Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).

“Abbott is actually sending asylum seekers to a court where they’re much more likely to be successful and much more likely to stay in the country,” Kocher said.

In Houston, just 17% of asylum cases were approved by judges in the last 10 months, according to the Gothamist. In Dallas, 33% of asylum-seekers are successful. But in New York City, immigration judges approve asylum cases four out of five times, or 82%.

Also, in New York City, migrants have more access to government resources and benefits, such as government-issued identification cards, housing, driver’s licenses, education and health care. The city’s Department of Education recently announced that it is prepared to enroll roughly 1,000 children into the public school system.

“Texas Governor Abbott is sending immigrants to New York as part of a cynical anti-immigrant political stunt,” said Theo Oshiro, co-executive director of the immigration advocacy group Make the Road New York. “As New Yorkers, we will not be deterred from providing a welcoming home here.”

Hundreds of asylum seekers have arrived at Catholic Charities in Manhattan. The unexpected arrival of the asylum seekers has “strained” the organization, said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

Tensions between Gov. Abbott and New York City Mayor Eric Adams flared recently when Abbott first started busing migrants to the city. “His continued use of human beings as political pawns is disgusting, and an embarrassing stain on the state of Texas,” said Adams spokesperson Fabien Levy in a statement.

The refugees are bused on a voluntary basis, and as CNN reported, they are often all-too-willing to go. But dispatching asylum seekers to New York and Washington D.C. may have the opposite effect that immigration hardliners intended, unless political theater was the sole intention all along. 

Nick Anderson
Nick Anderson
Writer, editor, photographer and editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson has joined the Reform Austin newsroom, where he will employ the artistic skill and political insights that earned a Pulitzer Prize to drive coverage of Texas government. As managing editor, Anderson is responsible for guiding Reform Austin’s efforts to give readers the unfiltered facts they need to hold Texas leaders accountable. Anderson’s original cartoons will be a regular feature on RA News. “Reform Austin readers understand the consequences of electing politicians who use ideological agendas to divide us, when they should be doing the hard work necessary to make our state government work for everyone,” Anderson said. “As a veteran journalist, I’m excited about Reform Austin’s potential to re-focus conversations on the issues that matter to common-sense Texans – like protecting our neighborhoods from increasingly common disasters, healthcare, just to name a few.” Anderson worked for the Houston Chronicle, the largest newspaper in Texas, from 2006 until 2017. In addition to the Pulitzer, Anderson earned the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award. He’s also a two-time winner of Columbia College’s Fischetti Award, and the National Press Foundation’s Berryman Award. Anderson’s cartoons have been published in Newsweek, the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and other papers. In 2005, Anderson won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning while working for the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky. The judges complimented his “unusual graphic style that produced extraordinarily thoughtful and powerful messages.”


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