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When New York City schools open next month, they will have an influx of hundreds of migrant children sent here from Texas with the asylum-seeking families.
CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer says the Adams administration unveiled a detailed plan to welcome them.
Two busloads of asylum seekers arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal from Texas Friday - 78 people, including 15 children - many of whom will find themselves on other buses next month as the city plans to send them to schools throughout the boroughs.
"This city represents all of us, and is for all of us. It is vital that these families feel welcome here in our country and in our city, and they are welcome here in New York City," said Schools Chancellor David Banks.
Banks, along with the commissioners of the departments of social services and immigrant affairs, announced "Project Open Arms," a comprehensive plan to educate the children of the nearly 6,000 asylum seekers sent here by Gov. Greg Abbott.
Officials estimate they will need to accommodate about 1,000 children, most of who are in grades K-8.
Officials say the plan will include:
- A simplified enrollment process
- Language support in their native tongue for parents
- ESL - English as a second language - for their kids
- Busing for kids in grades K-6
- Metrocards for parents to take their children to school
- Extracurricular activities for the entire family.
Many of the students will be buses from their shelters to schools that are currently underutilized.
"As we're looking at where we're placing these students, we're placing them primarily in schools that have the space for them. We're not going to put them in the schools that are a little bit overcrowded," Banks said.
With the city and the Department of Education already experiencing financial problems, officials say they will ask the federal government for help.
"In the immediate term, the resources... we will ensure resources will not be an issue. We will deploy the resources as necessary, and make the appeal to the federal government to have those dollars returned to us," Banks said.
Officials admit that their education plans have to remain fluid to accommodate future waves of asylum seekers.
The program will be mostly concentrated in six school districts in every borough except Staten Island, Banks said.
Local leaders have been urging Abbott to stop sending the migrants. They said Abbott is "ignoring humanity" and asked him to coordinate on a better method.
Bags full of supplies were passed out by the mayor's office. Nonprofits donated new shoes, since these refugees walked for miles and days in their old ones. Some migrants arrived shoeless.
"This is what America stands for. We get people arriving here barefoot, and we are going to give them shoes and food," said Alexander Rapport, executive director for Masbia.
"What Governor Abbott is doing, using human beings as political pawns, it's not leadership. It's cowardice," said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.
Local leaders, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, said they're concerned that more children are arriving on the buses. But they said they're relieved the kids are now in a sanctuary city.
"I want people to think about, what could be happening in your life that would cause you to take your newborn, cause you to take your child and walk for a month in hopes, just hopes, that you can get some assistance?" Williams said.
City officials said more than 6,500 migrants have made contact with the shelter system.
The city is struggling to provide housing, having already opened 13 hotels for extra beds.
The Adams administration issued an emergency solicitation seeking bids for up to 5,000 units in commercial hotels and other facilities that have to be able to provide services on a 24-hour notice.
"We're hoping that they come to us with locations, with viable locations," New York City Social Services Commissioner Gary Jenkins said in an exclusive interview with CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer.
Jenkins said the Adams administration is also committed to helping the migrants with job training.
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