Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office rebuffed White House criticism that it’s busing of migrants on Christmas Eve from the southern border to the nation’s capital — including outside the home of Vice President Kamala Harris — was a “dangerous and shameful stunt.”
“The White House is full of a bunch of hypocrites, led by the Hypocrite-in-Chief,” a spokesperson for the Republican governor told news outlets in a statement. “Instead of their hypocritical complaints about Texas providing much-needed relief to our overrun and overwhelmed border communities, President Biden and Border Czar Harris need to step up and do their jobs to secure the border — something they continue failing to do.”
The migrants who were transported last week marked the latest among the thousands whom Mr. Abbott has relocated to liberal cities. Mr. Abbott’s spokesperson said the move was a way to call attention to the border crisis and relieve overwhelmed border towns.
The White House blasted the move as a “cruel, dangerous and shameful stunt” akin to “political games accomplish nothing and only put lives in danger.” The administration went on to say it remains “willing to work with anyone — Republican or Democrat alike — on real solutions, like the comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures President Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office.”
Mr. Abbott’s office said the migrants “willingly chose to go to Washington, D.C.,” and that they “signed a voluntary consent waiver available in multiple languages upon boarding that they agreed on the destination.”
“They were processed and released by the federal government,” his office continued, “who are dumping them at historic levels in Texas border towns like El Paso, which recently declared a state of emergency because of the Biden-made crisis.”
The saga comes as the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Trump-era border policy known as Title 42, which allows the U.S. to more expeditiously prevent migrants from coming across the border and was put in place under the pandemic, will remain in effect as legal challenges play out.
Under the Trump administration, nearly 90% of illegal border crossers were expelled under Title 42 in November 2020.
The Biden administration has been more reluctant to use it, with fewer than 30% of migrants this November expelled.
Instead, the administration is catching and releasing tens of thousands of people into American communities each month — many of them in Texas, where authorities say they have been overwhelmed.
At one point, El Paso reported thousands of migrants on its streets and declared a state of emergency to tap state funding to try to get them off the streets during the last week’s polar vortex cold snap.
While Mr. Abbott was shipping migrants north, Homeland Security combatted the cold snap by issuing a statement pleading with migrants not to come.
“As temperatures remain dangerously low all along the border, no one should put their lives in the hands of smugglers, or risk life and limb attempting to cross only to be returned,” the department warned.
Congress just approved about $2 billion in new money to help Homeland Security process the record surge of people, and to reimburse local communities and charities working to welcome the migrants.
Texas is bussing migrants to Washington, New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Arizona has bussed migrants to Washington as well, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, in a grandiose move, flew several dozen migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, drawing the ire of immigrant-rights advocates who say his administration duped the migrants.