Texas Governor Greg Abbott Attends NYC Gala Where He Defends Himself From Criticism Over Migrant Crisis

By: Alex Trent | Published: Apr 05, 2024

On Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott attended a Republican gala in New York City where he defended himself from criticism over his actions during what some consider a crisis of migrants crossing into the United States.

The governor has been criticized for his decision to bus migrants to Democrat sanctuary cities, which has caused pushback from mayors and governors from these cities and states.

Addressing Criticism

Abbott was confident in his defense of the decision to bus over a hundred thousand migrants into the interior of the country to the nation’s “sanctuary cities.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is captured in mid-gesture, speaking passionately at a public speaking event

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“We were sending them only to Washington, D.C., and quite literally out of nowhere, Mayor Adams starts criticizing me for sending them to New York City,” Abbott said. “So after a while, I figured, gosh, if I’m gonna get the criticism, I’m gonna get the credit.”


What is a Sanctuary City?

A sanctuary city is the name given to various cities across the United States that have a written or unwritten policy that they will not aid federal agents in finding or reporting undocumented migrants or immigrants.

A look at Brooklyn bridge leading into lower Manhattan in New York.

Source: Jakub Hałun/Wikimedia

The policies in these cities shield migrants by not cooperating with what they consider unfair or unwarranted law enforcement actions like arrests and deportations. These cities are typically Democrat strongholds like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Philadelphia.

Migrants Bused

According to reports from the government of Texas, over 105,000 migrants have been bused out of the state to sanctuary cities since August 2022.

A bus is stopped near the curb on a road near an intersection.

Source: Charles Edward Miller/Wikimedia

In December, the United States saw a historic rise in migrant encounters at the southern border. US Border Patrol reported it had nearly 250,000 encounters. A change in border policy under Biden has tied the hands of border agents, who have to release many of them into the country instead of turning them away.

Migrants in New York

The Texas government reported that over 39,600 migrants had been sent to New York City since August 2022.

An empty New York City street, large buildings and a blue sky are seen in the background

Source: Paulo Silva/Unsplash

This surge of migrants has reportedly strained the city’s resources, with New York Mayor Eric Adams considering in January to utilize the NYPD to stop the migrant buses driving in from Texas.

Blaming Biden

In his comments at the Gala, Abbott placed the blame for the current border crisis on Joe Biden who was not grasping its significance early on.

President Joe Biden sitting at a desk signing a document.

The White House/Wikimedia Commons

“When we began the bussing operation, it was going to one location. It was there on purpose because, remember, up to this time, neither Joe Biden nor the border czar had actually been to the border to see the chaos they had caused,” Abbott said.


Migrant Crisis Dominating the Gala

This Republican Gala is an annually held event by the New York Republican Party. The governor was invited to be the keynote speaker of the event, and the topic of the migrant crisis took center stage in the discussion.

Reporter Uncovers Child Labor Law Violations Involving Immigrant Minors in Los Angeles

Source: John Moore/Getty Images

Abbott has received tough criticism from New York’s mayor prior to the gala, which he was happy to respond to. However, he also praised Mayor Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hocul for pushing Biden to respond to the crisis.


Adams Unhappy With Abbot

New York’s mayor has been in a rivalry with Governor Abbott, whom he blames for attempting to create a humanitarian crisis in his city.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams in a blue suit in 2022.

Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York/Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday Adams said, “I’m going to offer him a stay in one of the [Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers], so he can see what he has created and understand how we are treating people with the dignity and respect that he should have shown.”


Gala Protestors

Outside the event where Abbott was speaking, protestors arrived by the dozens to make their political opposition to him and the rest of the Republican party known.

A man raised a fist into the air.

Source: Dan Burton/Unsplash

“We are protesting the entire GOP,” said Luba Cortes, with Make the Road NY. “Communities are gonna stand together to continue to say that immigrants are not political pawns.”


States Supporting Abbot

In addition to bussing migrants to sanctuary cities, Abbott has also been sparring with President Joe Biden over his actions to secure the border from non-citizens who attempt to cross.

Greg Abbott waves toward a crowd on stage.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

In February, Abbott received the endorsement and support of 24 other states as he stood on the front lines fighting the federal government over border policy.



Recently the governor of Arkansas pledged Arkansas National Guard troops to aid Texas’ fight with migrant crossings at the border. 

Governor of Alaska Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks at an America First Agenda Summit in 2022.

Source: Tom Williams/Wikimedia

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement “President Biden’s failure at our southern border puts the entire country at risk. States must now step up where the President has failed to repel illegals, fight the cartels, and stop human and drug trafficking, Arkansans have always been quick to step up when others are in need – this time is no different.”


Migrant Crisis Continues

While border crossings have declined from the high experienced in December, the efforts of Republicans like Abbott and others have not successfully solved the problem. Republicans blame Joe Biden’s policies for allowing such a surge to happen in the first place, and say Biden has not done enough to fix the problem.

Migrant workers moving about in a camp.

Source: Julie Ricard/Unsplash

Biden and Democrats blame Republicans, who recently killed a bill in the Senate introduced by Republican Mitch McConnell. This bill would have increased border security and brought reforms. 78% of Americans surveyed by Pew Research in February said that migrant crossings were either a crisis or a major problem.