A second group of asylum seekers arrived in Washington, DC Thursday on a chartered bus after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Division of Emergency Management to transport migrants from Texas to DC
This comes just a day after the first bus carrying undocumented migrants from Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua was transported to the country’s capital.
Abbott said the order was a direct response to President Joe Biden’s plans to end Title 42 deportations on May 23 in a public health emergency.
“Leaders in Congress are unaware of the chaos they have caused by the open borders policy, and they refuse to come down and see firsthand and talk to the people who are really just bombing illegal immigrants from countries around the world, leaving it up to local communities to deal with it,” Abbott told reporters on Wednesday.
The Texas governor added, “More will be arriving, whether by bus or plane, leaving Washington to respond and face the same challenges as we do.”
US Customs and Border Protection (CPD) Commissioner Chris Magnus expressed concern that Abbott is directing the operation without “proper coordination with the federal government.”
“While individuals await the outcome of their immigration process, they are required by law to report for the next steps in their immigration process and are allowed to travel elsewhere. The CBP’s close partnerships with other governmental and non-governmental actors are critical to this effort and to ensuring fairness, order and humanity in this process,” Magnus told the federal government and local border communities in a statement. CBP has always worked closely with and supported frontier communities in Texas, many of which CBP employees call home.”
Press secretary for DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Susana Castillo, told ABC News on Wednesday, “Our government continues to work with NGOs [Non-Government Organizations] who provide resources to the arriving individuals and families. Our partners were able to sight the first bus, which included people hoping to settle outside the region.
Immigration advocacy groups and faith leaders held a joint press conference outside Washington DC’s Union Station to welcome asylum seekers who arrived in Washington DC on Thursday.
Organizers from Welcome with Dignity, Carecen and CASA told reporters they plan to help asylum seekers connect with their family members in the United States and provide legal assistance if needed.
“Our community is ready to accept any immigrants that the governor of Texas wants to send here. We are an open city. We are a welcoming city. We will continue to be. We have the support of the local government,” said Abel Nunez, executive director of Carecen, a non-profit Central American refugee organization.
“I urge the Texas governor to coordinate with us if he wants to continue sending immigrants to this region so we can ensure we can provide the best service and meet all of their legal obligations,” Nunez said.
During the press conference, proponents of immigration policy also called out Biden over the delays in passing immigration reform. Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, said federal legislation is the only long-term solution to deal with the ongoing crisis.
“I want to send a very clear message to the Biden administration: It’s time to pass immigration reform. I remember when he ran for President he promised that if he controlled the White House and Congress they would pass immigration reform. We still demand that. This is the only real solution to this crisis we are facing,” Torres said.