El Paso’s Democratic Mayor Oscar Leeser defends sending migrants to NYC

The Democratic mayor of El Paso, Texas, on Sunday defended his move to send his own buses of migrants to New York City — with the permission of Mayor Eric Adams — saying his goal is to “help them get to their destination.”

“The people are not coming to El Paso, they’re coming to America, and that’s something that’s really important,” Mayor Oscar Leeser said in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

Many of the asylum seekers from Venezuela, however, do not have “sponsors” in the US, leaving them without obvious destinations, Leeser noted.

“A sponsor is someone where it’s a family member or a friend, where they’ve arranged and they have transportation to go to their destination,” he said.

“We have about 50 percent of the people today that do not have a sponsor, they don’t have money. So we’re helping and working to get them to where they want to go.”

Following Leeser on “This Week,” Adams echoed Democratic counterpart’s point about “sponsors” — but did not directly address The Post’s report that his administration had agreed to receive as many as 200 migrants per day from El Paso.

“As the mayor of El Paso stated, these migrants and asylum seekers are not coming to any particular city. They’re coming to America,” Adams said Sunday.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser defended his move to send buses of migrants to New York City with the permission of Mayor Eric Adams.
AP Photo/Astrid Galvan, file
Leeser said his goal is to help the migrants "get to their destination."
Leeser said his goal is to help the migrants “get to their destination.”
Robert Miller

News of the deal on Friday came as Adams continued to denounce Republican governors over similar relocation program. The mayor has also repeatedly blamed the ongoing influx of new arrivals for overwhelming the city’s shelter system.

Hizzoner said Sunday that he was focused on “coordination” with local governments and the Biden administration to address what he called “an American crisis… made by human hands by some of the governors in our southern states” — echoing his long-standing criticisms of GOP leaders, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“As you saw the mayor of El Paso indicate that when you have sponsors, it’s an easier transition,” Adams said. “If we would have properly coordinated with the governors in these Southern states and state that, let’s find where the sponsors, we have large Venezuelan communities in America.”

Mayor Eric Adams called buses of migrants being sent by Texas Gov.  Greg Abbott has "political-ploy."
Mayor Eric Adams called buses of migrants being sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has “political ploy.”
Robert Miller
Migrants from El Paso getting off the bus at the Port Authority in Manhattan on September 6, 2022.
Migrants from El Paso getting off the bus at the Port Authority in Manhattan on September 6, 2022.
Robert Miller

He added: “There was no coordination at all with Governor Abbott and Governor DeSantis just wanted to use this [as a] political plot instead of understanding these are people, these are families, these are human beings.”

El Paso began sending migrants to the Big Apple on Aug. 23. Leeser said at an El Paso City Council work session Monday he was “thankful” to Adams for welcoming migrants to New York City.


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Adams spokesman Fabien Levy denied on Friday that the city had agreed to accept the migrants being sent from El Paso.

But City Hall also released a statement from Leeser that said, “We greatly appreciate the assistance and cooperation of Mayor Adams, his team and the people of New York as we address this developing situation that is changing on an hour-to-hour basis. ”

As of Wednesday, El Paso’s Office of Emergency Management had paid for 33 charter buses to travel here, a spokeswoman for the Texas city said. Adams said another six buses had arrived on Sunday, but did not specify from where.

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