WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Hill) — A bus carrying migrants from Texas arrived in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week announced plans to send them from his state’s southern border to the nation’s capital.
Fox News anchor John Roberts tweeted a picture of the bus parked outside the building that houses the network’s bureau on Capitol Hill and that of several other news outlets on Wednesday morning.
Abbott said during a press conference last week the migrants would be voluntarily sent to Washington so that President Biden could “immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border.”
Abbott also ordered the state to charter flights to transport migrants to the nation’s capital after they have been processed by the Department of Homeland Security, The Texas Tribune reported.
The Biden administration earlier this month rescinded Title 42, a Trump-era immigration rule that prevented people seeking asylum from getting an immediate hearing if they were coming from a country with a communicable disease, such as the coronavirus. Title 42’s recension is effective May 23.
The White House last week dismissed Abbott’s plans to send migrants to Washington as a “publicity stunt.”
“I’m not aware of what authority the governor would be doing that under,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. “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.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Psaki slammed Abbott’s immigration policies, saying his “unnecessary and redundant inspections of trucks transiting ports of entry between Texas and Mexico are causing significant disruptions to the food and automobile supply chains, delaying manufacturing, impacting jobs, and raising prices for families in Texas and across the country.”
“Local businesses and trade associations are calling on Governor Abbott to reverse this decision because trucks are facing lengthy delays exceeding 5 hours at some border crossings and commercial traffic has dropped by as much as 60%,” Psaki said. “The continuous flow of legitimate trade and travel and CBP’s [Customs and Border Protection] ability to do its job should not be obstructed. Governor Abbott’s actions are impacting people’s jobs, and the livelihoods of hardworking American families.”
Abbott is facing reelection in a solid red state and is likely to face Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in the fall election for governor.
“If Abbott focused on solutions instead of stunts, then Texas could have made some real progress on the issue over the last seven years,” O’Rourke said last week.