⭕ Border crisis sparks sharp exchanges in New Jersey

⭕ NJ congressman says Gov. Murphy needs to act

⭕ Local mayor doesn't see migrants in NJ as a problem

As the crisis continues at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and busloads of migrants continue to be driven to New Jersey, a local mayor and New Jersey congressman sparred over the issue on social media this weekend.

Rep. Tom Kean (R-NJ7) posted on X (formerly Twitter) that Gov. Phil Murphy needed to take swift action to monitor and address the "crisis" of migrants arriving in New Jersey.

Photo: Tom Kean on X
Photo: Tom Kean on X

"The ongoing influx of unvetted illegal migrants being bused in New Providence, Fanwood, and now Westfield is deeply troubling," Kean wrote.

The Mayor of Westfield hit back at Kean, posting her town has had "ZERO issues with the few migrant buses that came thru Westfield."

Mayor Shelley Brindle, a Democrat, accused Kean of "TRUMPing up the security risks to our towns."

Brindle later accused Kean of failing "to check with local officials before spewing false info and scare tactics." "But why let facts get in the way of a good Trumpian narrative," Brindle wrote, "Very on brand."

Photo: Mayor Shelly Brindle on X
Photo: Mayor Shelly Brindle on X

 Mayors Divided

While Brindle claims there are no issues with migrants in Westfield, other mayors who have seen migrant arrivals in their towns have a different view.

Edison Mayor Sam Joshi, a Democrat, says his town does not have the resources to deal with an influx of migrants.  In January, Joshi took to Facebook and vowed to send any migrant busses right back to the southern border.

attachment-Mayor Sam

Joshi said he wanted to "make it clear that our position in Edison township is that they're not welcome here."

The mayor raised concerns about undocumented migrants.

“Edison Township police officers did not know if any of those 40 individuals were carrying weapons," Joshi said, "They couldn’t be identified, and that is a major problem. That’s a major security risk. It’s a health risk. And we’re just not going to tolerate that."

How many migrants in NJ?

We don't know.

Gov. Phil Murphy has refused to say.

However, it has apparently grown to a number large enough that the administration is trying to figure out what to do with them and how to pay for it.

Murphy has requested hundreds of millions in federal funding.

When migrants began arriving in New Jersey on busses from Texas in January, Murphy called it "a manageable situation."

AP/Townsquare Media Illustration
AP/Townsquare Media Illustration

At the time, he stressed that most were not staying in New Jersey. Instead, they were taking New Jersey Transit into New York City. That was a good thing, he said, because "that's where the federal money is."

In the weeks that have followed Murphy has admitted that "some" of those migrants have been opting to stay in New Jersey.

Kean says New Jersey must do a better job of getting a handle on the situation.

"Governor Murphy needs to take swift action and deploy necessary security resources to monitor and address this crisis," Kean wrote, "Our priority must be the safety and well-being of our constituents, and I urge the Governor to step up and uphold the rule of law."

Murphy did not respond to Kean.

A sanctuary state?

Murphy, in the past, has talked about New Jersey being a sanctuary state and has been supportive of both receiving and helping migrants newly arrived to the United States.

More recently, Murphy has waffled when confronted with the enormous costs involved with actually providing such sanctuary.

AP/Governor's office/Townsquare Media illustration
AP/Governor's office/Townsquare Media illustration

Last June, the state was planning to ask permission to use millions in pandemic relief money to provide services and create a "migrant task force," according to a report in Politico.

That application was never submitted, and there does not appear to be such a task force.

Murphy has also demanded that bus operators give the state at least 32-hours notice before their arrival in New Jersey.

Every state is now a border state

The bussing of migrants to New York City, New Jersey and other states has highlighted how the issue of border crossing is no longer a border state issue.

Texas Border Governors

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott returned to the Eagle Pass border to highlight his escalating attempts to curb illegal crossings on the U.S.-Mexico border.

He was joined Sunday afternoon by more than a dozen other GOP governors, all of whom have cheered on his extraordinary showdown with the Biden administration over immigration enforcement.

The record number of border crossings is a political liability for President Joe Biden in an election year.

Congress Border
Migrants wait in line adjacent to the border fence under the watch of the Texas National Guard to enter into El Paso, Texas, May 10, 2023. Senators are racing to release a highly-anticipated bill that pairs border enforcement policy with wartime aid for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies, as part of a long-shot effort to push the package through heavy skepticism from Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Johnson. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Biden and his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel López Obrador, discussed joint efforts on migration in a phone call Saturday. The White House said Biden gave thanks for Mexico's support and taking steps to curb crossings.

Associated Press reporters Maria Verza in Mexico City and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.

Immigration Texas
Concertina wire is seen in the foreground of the Rio Grande, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. The Texas border city has gained an unsolicited spotlight in an extraordinary showdown between the state's Republican governor and Democratic White House over border security. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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