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Children caught in the middle of political battle between New York and Texas over asylum seeker crisis

Kids caught in the middle of political battle between N.Y., Texas over asylum seeker crisis
Kids caught in the middle of political battle between N.Y., Texas over asylum seeker crisis 02:23

NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams filed a $708 million lawsuit on Thursday, his latest attempt to stop Texas Gov. Greg Abbott from shipping asylum seekers to New York.

Caught in the middle of this political battle are thousands of children.

CBS New York visited a Girl Scout troop trying to give asylum seekers a chance at normal childhood.

Fourteen-year-old Caylee came to the U.S. from Nicaragua with her family last year.

"I love New York City, really," she said.

Assimilating in in the Big Apple as a teenage girl was almost as difficult as the 3,000-mile journey to get here.

"It was a little hard because I don't really make quickly friends, so it was a little bit hard," Caylee said.

But she has found friends in the Girl Scouts, and the first-ever troop solely for girls who are seeking asylum.

"We established this whole program to really stress that Girl Scouting brings continuity, consistency, community, and a sense of belonging," said Meredith Maskari, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York.

They are children who have already experienced more change than most people do in their entire lives.

"We're trying to leave the politics outside and support them in healing from what they've been through," said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.

READ MOREMayor Eric Adams sues 17 charter bus companies for $700 million for transporting asylum seekers to NYC

The politics outside, right now, is a new lawsuit from Mayor Adams against 17 bus companies, which have been utilized by Texas Gov. Abbott to ship thousands of asylum seekers to New York since 2022.

"These companies have violated state law by not paying the costs of caring for these migrants," Adams said Thursday.

The lawsuit is seeking about $700 million to cover what Adams says New York has already spent on housing and caring for the asylum seekers that were bused here from Texas.

The suit comes after Adams issued an executive order last week limiting the hours that charter buses can drop off asylum seekers in the city. Those buses then found a loophole and have been dropping people off at New Jersey train stations that connect to New York.

READ MOREGov. Phil Murphy targets Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Congress over asylum seeker crisis developing in New Jersey

When asked if the situation is getting worse since the executive order, Castro said, "Yes, what you're seeing now is families are being dropped off in the middle of nowhere, [in] a whole other state. They have to take the train in and this can all be done in an organized humane way if Gov. Abbott would just send the buses and coordinate with us within the time frame we provided."

In a statement, Gov. Abbott called the lawsuit baseless, saying, in part, "Every migrant bused or flown to New York City did so voluntarily, after having been authorized by the Biden administration to remain in the United States."

While the politics are getting uglier outside, inside, the Girl Scouts are trying to just be kids.

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