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Texas migrant flight heading to New York City diverted to Philadelphia

A migrant flight carrying over 180 migrants from Texas was diverted on its way to New York City due to a ground stop, Texas officials said on Wednesday.

A flight sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott carrying over 180 migrants was dispatched to New York City on Tuesday as part of Texas’ efforts to transport migrants to "sanctuary" cities — but it was diverted to Philadelphia due to weather.

Abbott’s office confirmed that the plane carrying the migrants left for the Big Apple, but it was "re-routed due to weather/ground stoppage in NYC, and the migrants were bused the remaining way."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office had said earlier that the flight had been diverted to Philadelphia and the passengers then transported to the city via bus. His office, which has been sounding the alarm for over a year about the number of migrants they are receiving, called the move "inhumane."

TEXAS BEGINS FLYING MIGRANTS TO SANCTUARY CITIES WITH FIRST FLIGHT TO CHICAGO

"Last night—in another inhumane act of treating human beings like political pawns—@GregAbbott_TX attempted to send us an unannounced & uncoordinated chartered plane w/ migrants that was diverted to Philly due to weather but whose passengers were then transported here via bus," deputy mayor for communications Fabien Levy said.

The flight is the latest such move by Abbott’s office, which last week dispatched a flight to Chicago carrying 120 migrants. Sources in Abbott’s office told Fox that all migrants signed voluntary waivers, as they do when bussed.

The flights are an expansion of the bussing strategy that Abbott implemented in April 2022, when he began bussing migrants to Washington, D.C. Soon he expanded that to other "sanctuary" cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

TEXAS IMMIGRATION LAW PUSHBACK MARKS LATEST TENSION BETWEEN BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AND BORDER STATES OVER CRISIS 

Abbott’s office said last week that the state has bussed over 82,900 migrants to cities, including Washington, D.C.; New York City; Chicago; Philadelphia; Denver; and Los Angeles. Abbott has said the operation provides "vital relief" to border towns and has promised to keep doing it "until [President] Biden secures the border."

The move has brought anger from mayors and the Biden administration. The White House accused him of performing a political stunt, but Texas has said it is doing it to aid border towns that have suffered from the border crisis. 

The migrants Texas has bussed have also exacerbated an already perilous migrant crisis for the city of New York, where Mayor Adams has demanded additional federal help with resettlement and warned the crisis could "destroy" the city.

NYC has had over 160,000 migrants enter its shelter system over the last year and Adams has repeatedly criticized what he sees as the federal government’s lack of action, as well as Abbott for his buses’ roles in the crisis. Levy said that 14 "rogue buses" arrived in one night last week, the highest number recorded.

"I’m not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel from the federal government," Adams said in a press conference this week.

The Biden administration has pointed to funding it has provided to cities like New York City, as well as teams to help with processing work permits and making recommendations for improvements. Meanwhile it has called on Congress to provide additional funding as part of its budget supplemental. 

That supplemental is currently being held up in Washington, D.C. as lawmakers debate additional restrictions on asylum. Meanwhile, federal officials said last week that November saw over 242,000 migrant encounters at the southern border — the highest November on record.

Fox News' Tamara Gitt contributed to this report.

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