Migrant Bus Commuters Transition to Trains: NJ to NYC Journey Underway, Confirm Officials


Buses of migrants have shown up at train station stops in different parts of New Jersey, according to state and local officials. This is likely a reaction to and workaround for New York City’s order that limits the number of migrants coming in.

It’s still not clear how the refugees were dropped off, but the office of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said they were taking the train to New York City.

Leaders of blue states and towns have had to deal with thousands of migrants coming from the southern border into their areas over the past few months. Nowhere has been more on point than New York City.

When asked about the recent arrival of a few buses carrying migrant families at different NJ TRANSIT train stops, Murphy’s spokesman Tyler Jones told POLITICO, “Our Administration has tracked their arrival.” It’s mostly just a stopover for these families in New Jersey—everyone or almost everyone kept traveling on their way to their end destination, New York City.” We are working closely with our government and local partners on this, including our friends on the other side of the Hudson.

Officials in Secaucus and Fanwood said that refugees were taken by bus to the train stations in their towns. Reed Gusciora, the mayor of Trenton, said in an interview that NJ Transit told his city about buses carrying people coming at Trenton’s train station stop. He said it wasn’t clear if the people on the buses were migrants.

“This is clearly going to be a statewide conversation so important that we wait for some guidance from the Governor here on next steps as busses continue,” Steven Fulop, the mayor of Jersey City and a candidate for governor in 2025, wrote in a social media post that has since been taken down.

Mayor Eric Adams of New York City recently signed an order that limits when buses with migrants can enter the city and needs earlier notice. In a statement, Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli said that refugees took a bus to his train station and then took a train to New York City. He also said that the stops at train stations were an attempt to get around Adams’ order. He thought that four buses full of refugees arrived on Saturday morning.

“It’s pretty clear that the bus companies are getting around the [New York City] Executive Order by dropping off migrants at the Secaucus train station and letting them keep going to their final destination,” Gonnelli said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Adams’ office told POLITICO on Sunday evening that dropping off migrants at train stations was a way to get around the new executive order, but they didn’t say anything about New Jersey specifically.

Adams’s spokesman, Fabien Levy, said in a statement, “Texas Governor Greg Abbott continues to treat asylum seekers like political pawns. Instead, he is dropping families off in nearby cities and states in the cold, dark night with train tickets to get to New York City, just like he did in Chicago in response to their similar executive order.” “This is precisely why, since before we issued our order, we have been working with nearby cities and counties to urge them to follow suit and protect migrants from this cruel treatment.”

This is not the first time this year that New Jersey has had to deal with the migrant problem. In the fall, news stories said that a South Jersey airport could be a place for people to move from New York City, but the plan never came together. Democrats and Republicans in the area, on the other hand, were very against the plan. Murphy, who once said he would turn New Jersey into a “sanctuary state,” said the state didn’t have the tools to take in migrants at the airport.

What, if anything, comes next is not clear. Gonnelli said that the State Police had heard that buses were coming in other towns. The New Jersey State Police wouldn’t say anything. NJ Transit told people to ask the governor’s office about their concerns.

Head of the Fanwood Police Department Michael Bramhall told POLITICO in an email that just after midnight on Sunday, NJ Transit police told his department that a “single charter bus of migrants had been dropped off at the Fanwood Train Station.” When police arrived, the group, whose number and make-up were still unknown, had already gotten on NJ Transit trains going to Newark Penn Station. Bramhall said he didn’t know where the bus came from.

A spokesperson for Newark said that as of Sunday night, they had not gotten any requests for their services.

Guscoria said Sunday that NJ Transit told police in Trenton that there were buses of people at the city train station stop, but he said it was unclear to him if they contained migrants.

“I did get confirmation from our police chief that there were a few buses at NJ Transit, but most people changed to trains,” he said.

There is a big immigrant rights group in New Jersey that said the state government should “step up” and help refugees on Sunday.

“As the federal government uses migrants as political pawns — threatening to end asylum and expand deportations over the past few weeks — this is an opportunity for New Jersey to stand up and continue its rich history of welcoming migrants,” Sara Cullinane, state director of Make the Road New Jersey, said in a statement. “We are a state of immigrants and we must continue to be a beacon for those fleeing violence in search of a better life.”

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