🔴 New York City Mayor Adams says the tri-state area needs to stand together

🔴 The mayor wants New Jersey to block buses

🔴 Democrats want Murphy to make resources available to municipalities

As Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Mayor Eric Adams put up a united front to deal with migrants being sent to New Jersey from Texas, the city has filed suit against bus operators.

The city has filed a $708 million lawsuit against 17 charter bus operators and transportation companies who have transported 33,600 migrants to the city in an effort to recoup the costs incurred to provide shelter and services.

"Governor Abbott’s continued use of migrants as political pawns is not only chaotic and inhumane but makes clear he puts politics over people. Today’s lawsuit should serve as a warning to all those who break the law in this way," Adams said.

To get around Adam's executive order restricting the times the buses can arrive, they have been dropping off migrants at NJ Transit stations in Edison, Fanwood, Secaucus and Trenton since New Year's weekend. Some of those on board have not continued the trip to New York, raising concern by New Jersey mayors about the social and economic costs on their strained budgets.

Speaking Thursday during an event on Staten Island, the Big Apple mayor said he encouraged Murphy and other states to implement their own executive orders to stop the buses.

"It is imperative that we stand together to ensure that the region will stand together," Adams said. "So we don't stretch our resources and destablize our resources.

Migrants walk across the Secaucus NJ Transit station
Migrants walk across the Secaucus NJ Transit station (Daily Mail)

Dealing with migrants humanely

Murphy said at an event of his own he spoke with Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and continues to monitor the situation. He called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform to come up with a reasonable, humane way to secure the border.

"With all due respect to the governor of Texas and others who I think are playing with people's lives, they should be ashamed of themselves. Let's get at a table, adults in the room, Democrats and Republicans, and figure out comprehensive immigration reform."

U.S. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Bill Pascrell, Donald Payne Jr. and Robert J. Menendez, all Democrats, signed a letter asking Murphy to help establish "an effective and humane response to a shameful stunt" that ensures those arriving and staying in New Jersey receive the support they need.

The four Democrats also asked Murphy to let them know within the week if he had any communication with Abbott before the arrival of the first buses and what resources are available to New Jersey municipalities.

Watson Coleman also said that Abbott is "cribbing from the white supremacist playbook" by copying the "Reverse Freedom Rides" of the 1960s.

Black families from the south were bused to northern cities like Trenton with the promise of jobs, housing and better lives with the intent of "embarrassing northern liberals and humiliating Black people," according to Watson Coleman.

Why are we calling them ‘migrants’?

News organizations like New Jersey 101.5 try to use neutral language to report the news and let readers and listeners judge the facts.

But finding the right words is not always easy, rarely leaves any side of a political question satisfied and is hardly ever permanent.

The Associated Press, which compiles a style guide for journalists, has not used “illegal alien” to describe people in the country illegally for many years. In 2021, the Biden administration followed suit and directed federal agencies to use “non-citizen” or “migrant.”

The AP defines “migrant” as “people who move from place to place for temporary work or economic advantage” and people “whose reason for leaving is not clear, or to cover people who may also be refugees or asylum-seekers.”

“Asylum-seekers” are people who “applied for asylum status, typically fleeing persecution and violence,” the AP says. A “refugee” was forced to leave their homeland “to escape war, persecution or natural disaster,” the AP says.

To be in the country illegally could mean crossing the border or flying in without authorization or in violation of civil or criminal laws, or overstaying a visa.

Migrant has become the go-to word to describe non-citizens who cross the border but whose status and motivations we don’t yet know for certain.

2025 governor's race issue

The migrant buses has also bled over into the New Jersey gubernatorial race with Democratic candidate and Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop and Republican Jack Ciattarelli exchanging barbs.

Ciattarelli fired the first shot by pointing out that Fulop joined Murphy in declaring Jersey City a sanctuary city when Murphy said New Jersey was a sanctuary state.

Fulop fired back that Cittarelli was a supporter of licenses for immigrants who are in the country illegally and that it was " politically expedient" for him to take a hard stand against them now.

Cittarelli responded by accusing Fulop of deflecting and encouraging illegal immigration.

Report a correction 👈 | 👉 Contact our newsroom

Dan Zarrow's Top 10 Weather and Climate Stories of 2023

Gallery Credit: Dan Zarrow

Humorous Signs Return to New Jersey Highways

Humorous and sometimes snarky safety messages made their return to New Jersey highways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti told Fox Philadelphia they've dialed back the snark in this year's messages to keep the Federal Highway Administration satisfied that they are not distracting.

Gallery Credit: Dan Alexander

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM