After handily winning re-election last week, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has continued transporting migrants from Texas to various northern cities.
Most recently, 28 immigrants arrived on a bus on Wednesday morning in Philadelphia, a “sanctuary city.” But the city’s officials have not been happy with Abbott’s strategy.
On Tuesday, Abbott’s office announced in a news release that Philadelphia would be a new destination, in addition to New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, for Texas’ immigrant busing strategy.
The move is “part of the Governor’s unprecedented response to President Biden’s open border policies overwhelming border communities in Texas,” the release stated.
“Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has long-celebrated and fought for sanctuary city status, making the city an ideal addition to Texas’ list of drop-off locations,” the release stated.
Thus, on Wednesday morning, a bus dropped off 28 immigrants in Philadelphia, the majority of them from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, according to The Texas Tribune, an online news outlet.
Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney on Wednesday called the move by Abbott “cruel and racist.”
“It is sad and outrageous that Gov. Abbott and his administration continue to implement their cruel and racist policies using immigrant families — including children — as pawns to shamelessly push their warped political agenda,” Kenney said, according to the Tribune.
“Even if they were nice enough to, like, let us know so we could get ready, but they don’t even do that. So, I guess they’re having fun and enjoying playing with people’s lives,” Kenney said in public comments, according to a report from WCAU-TV.
However, Philadelphia is a “sanctuary city” that claims to be a haven for immigrants, according to a 2017 report by One Step Away, a “street newspaper” in the city.
“Philadelphia is a city of immigrants. America was founded on the belief that everyone is created equal — and every person means every person, no exceptions. Philadelphia treats immigrants as we would any other resident under our criminal justice system,” the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs explained.
The immigrants who arrived in Philadelphia have applied for asylum and were vetted at the Texas border before they boarded the bus for the City of Brotherly Love, WCAU reported.
In addition, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that most of those who arrived were not going to be staying in Philadelphia permanently. (The Inquirer reported the number on the bus as 38 while other outlets reported 28. The reason for the discrepancy between that report and others was not clear.)
Most of the immigrants had called family members around the Northeast to make arrangements to either meet in Philadelphia or take the bus farther north to other locations, the newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Abbott has continued to defend the Texas initiative to transport immigrants out of the state as a response to the Biden administration’s failures to alleviate the pressure that Texas is facing from illegal immigration at the border.
“Since April, Texas’ busing strategy has successfully provided much-needed relief to our border communities overwhelmed by the historic influx of migrants caused by President Biden’s reckless open border policies,” Abbott said in a statement, according to the Nov. 15 press release.
“Until the Biden Administration does its job and provides Texans and the American people with sustainable border security, Texas will continue doing more than any other state in the nation’s history to defend against an invasion along the border, including adding more sanctuary cities like Philadelphia as drop-off locations for our busing strategy,” the statement added.
Since April of this year, Texas has transported over 13,000 immigrants to these northeastern cities, The Associated Press reported.
But while Abbott has faced a lot of criticism over this, he appears to still have support in Texas, as evidenced by the Nov. 8 election.
Abbott won re-election as the state’s governor with 54.81 percent of the votes, solidly beating Democratic contender Beto O’Rourke who managed to get 43.82 percent, according to the website 270towin.
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