Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on April 6 that Texas would be sending willing, undocumented immigrants to Washington, D.C., as a response to the Biden administration’s handling of immigration.
Fulfilling the promise, the first bus of immigrants arrived at 8 a.m. on Wednesday and dropped off the passengers just a few blocks away from the Capitol building, Fox News reported.
This is Texas’ response particularly to the administration’s decision to rescind Title 42, which was a pandemic measure put in place in 2020.
Title 42 authorized the U.S. to promptly deport immigrants, granting the government the “power to prohibit, in whole or in part, the introduction of persons and property” to stop a contagious disease, CBS News reported.
Biden’s decision to revoke Title 42 was immediately criticized by nearly all Republicans and even some centrist Democrats since this change at the border is likely to cause a massive immigration surge at the border.
With Texas being forced to handle hundreds of miles of the border, Abbott said that the federal government is not addressing the immigration situation or securing the border.
“Texans demand and deserve an aggressive, comprehensive strategy to secure our border — not President Biden’s lackluster leadership,” Abbott said in a statement, Fox reported. “As the federal government continues to roll back commonsense policies that once kept our communities safe, our local law enforcement has stepped up to protect Texans from dangerous criminals, deadly drugs and illegal contraband flooding into the Lone Star State.”
“The Biden administration’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous cartels and deadly drugs to pour into the United States, and this crisis will only be made worse by ending Title 42 expulsions,” Abbott added in a statement.
Since local law enforcement and officials were being overwhelmed in Texas, Abbott decided to respond by sending willing, undocumented immigrants straight to D.C.
“To help local officials whose communities are being overwhelmed by hordes of illegal immigrants who are being dropped off by the administration, Texas is providing charter buses to send these illegal immigrants who have been dropped off by the Biden administration to Washington, D.C.,” Abbott said during a news conference, CNN reported.
Some questioned whether Abbott was serious or not.
The White House said that it was just a “publicity stunt.”
“I’m not aware of what authority the governor would be doing that under,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, The Hill reported. “I think it’s pretty clear this is a publicity stunt. His own office admits that a migrant would need to voluntarily be transported, and he can’t compel them to because, again, enforcement of our country’s immigration laws lies with the federal government, not a state.”
Even Republican Rep. Matt Schaefer of Texas said that Abbott’s plan was just a “gimmick,” according to Fox.
But the immigrants that stepped off the bus on the morning of April 13 show that this was no gimmick or stunt.
Texas @GovAbbott delivers on his promise as the first bus of illegal immigrants from Texas arrives near Union Station on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. this morning — 23 migrants were on board for the 1700+ mile drive from Del Rio. pic.twitter.com/NfpoSXAqmy
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) April 13, 2022
The immigrants on this first bus are from the Del Rio sector of Texas, and most came from Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, Fox reported.
Abbott also promised charter flights for willing immigrants to D.C., the Texas Tribune reported.
The governor made it clear that this step to go to D.C. is completely voluntary and would happen only after they had been processed and released by the Department of Homeland Security. They were then transported by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
Despite this move to start sending immigrants to D.C., Texas is still struggling with the increase of immigrants at the border, Fox reported.
Texas has deployed thousands of troopers and National Guard members, put up a new border barrier and has been jailing illegal immigrants on trespassing charges.
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