A second busload of illegal immigrants from Texas arrived in Washington on Thursday morning, delighting leaders of neighboring counties who said they will be more than happy to have those surging the border right now settle in the D.C. area.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office said the latest load of migrants were dropped off near the White House. A previous bus Wednesday delivered a couple dozen people to Union Station, near the Capitol.
The Republican governor is shipping the people north to try to share some of the pain Texas says it’s feeling from the chaotic U.S.-Mexico border under President Biden.
But leaders of communities surrounding Washington said they’re more than happy to have the new arrivals settle here, no matter their legal status.
“What the governor of Texas is doing is an abhorrent and mean-spirited political stunt. I am proud to live in a county and a state that would not accept that type of leadership,” said Marc Elrich, county executive in Montgomery County, Maryland.
He was joined in the statement issued by CASA, a leading immigrant-rights group in the D.C. area, by the county executive from Prince George’s County in Maryland, by the County Board chair in Arlington, and by the Board of Supervisors chairman in Fairfax County, Virginia.
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“Fairfax County prides itself on being an open, welcoming, inclusive place where everyone is given the opportunity to thrive no matter where they come from,” said Jeffrey McKay, the Fairfax chairman.
Mr. Abbott announced the policy as part of his response to President Biden’s decision to cancel the Title 42 pandemic border shutdown.
Experts say that Title 42, which allowed immediate expulsion of unauthorized border crossers due to COVID-19 risks, helped keep already record levels of illegal activity from becoming disastrous.
Under Mr. Abbott’s policy, only migrants who volunteered to be shipped to Washington were taken. That means those arriving here were likely coming already, probably to reunite with family, and Texas has given them a free ride, said Gustavo Torres, head of CASA.
His organization issued the statement with the quotes of welcome from the county leaders.
“We don’t know how many refugees and immigrants are going to come,” Mr. Torres said at a press conference outside Union Station on Thursday. “But we are prepared.”
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Mr. Abbott has celebrated the busing, but says that’s just a part of his steps to try to push back on Mr. Biden.
Earlier this week, the governor signed an agreement with the governor of Nuevo Leon, a Mexican state, which will now start patrolling its side of the border to deter illegal activity.
In exchange, Texas has stopped doing enhanced safety checks of commercial traffic coming across the international border crossing from Nuevo Leon. Those safety checks had threatened the Mexican state’s economy.
Mr. Abbott says he’s looking to strike similar deals with other Mexican states that border Texas, and whose border crossings are also seeing severe delays in their commercial crossing traffic.
The Texas governor on Thursday also announced his Operation Lone Star, which deploys state police and National Guard to patrol the border and arrest smugglers, has assisted in 233,000 apprehensions of illegal immigrants, and more than 11,000 felony charges.