Biden White House Rips Greg Abbott For Migrant Trafficking Stunt

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On Saturday, three buses full of migrants originating in southern Texas stopped outside the vice presidential residence in Washington, D.C. The voluntary transport — the likes of which those responsible have repeatedly been accused of deceptively pressuring people into joining — was the work of Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott.

Abbott and his team have previously organized trips taking other migrants north, and the Republican governors in Arizona and Florida have orchestrated similar arrangements. As particularly brightly highlighted after Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis sent dozens to a community in Massachusetts, it’s not even a given — by a long shot — that those responsible let officials near the destination know of the plans. Those gaps in communication mean officials and community leaders have been left sometimes unprepared to care for people who the teams of these Republican governors are essentially just ditching on the side of the road in areas deemed politically relevant. The vice president’s residence in the capital isn’t near any major transportation hub in the city. It wasn’t just an accident.

“Governor Abbott abandoned children on the side of the road in below freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordinating with any Federal or local authorities,” White House assistant press secretary Abdullah Hasan said in prepared remarks. “This was a cruel, dangerous, and shameful stunt.” A report from The Washington Post said a migrant aid group in the nation’s capital was informed before the Texas trip arrived by a nongovernmental organization getting info from a state agency in Texas — not any state official there themselves.

Hasan also spoke of the policies the Biden admin already proposed for addressing the border and those potentially trying to get across it. “As we have repeatedly said, we are willing to work with anyone — Republican or Democrat alike — on real solutions, like the comprehensive immigration restructuring and border security measures President Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office, but these political games accomplish nothing and only put lives in danger,” he added.

The three buses that stopped outside the vice presidential residence were carrying over 100 people. The buses were reportedly originally scheduled for an arrival in New York City the following day, changing course because of the winter storm conditions recently unfolding. As elsewhere, volunteers from the local community quickly mobilized to help those who arrived without what seems like any prep in the district from those responsible for the trip, meaning the Texas state government. A local church provided temporary shelter for arriving migrants, and Tatiana Laborde, who works at SAMU First Response, explained those helping the migrants obtained dozens of bus and plane tickets that would help take those who arrived to places where they had personal connections or for some other reason were eyeing — instead of the side of the road in freezing conditions.

The point of the transports is in part to bring attention to conditions at the border and those crossing it, although it remains ludicrous in any reasonable estimation to describe the southern border as “open.” It’s not. The Title 42 rules under which agents already turned away arrivals millions of times, including under the Biden administration, aren’t even out of commission — although legal challenges continue. It’s before the Supreme Court.