Texas to Begin Busing Migrants to Washington DC with the Lift of Title 42


The order being taken away has prompted nearly immediate responses. Graphic by K. Peechu.

K. Peechu, Staff Writer

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office announced Wednesday, April 6th that the state would begin busing and flying undocumented immigrants to Washington DC, claiming that local leaders were vexed with the federal government releasing migrants into their communities.

“To help local officials whose communities are being overwhelmed by hordes of illegal immigrants who are being dropped off by the Biden administration, Texas is providing charter buses to send these illegal immigrants who have been dropped off by the Biden administration to Washington DC,” said Abbott (R) during a press conference. He specified that they are sending them to the national capital “where the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border.”

Abbott’s plan was stated to be a direct response by the governor himself to President Joe Biden’s administration’s recent announcement that they would be lifting Title 42, a pandemic public health order that blocked migrants from entering the U.S. and seeking refuge for more than two years, next month. The order was implemented by former President Donald Trump at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with his administration saying the order would help prevent the spread of the virus across the U.S.’s borders with Canada and Mexico. However, public health officials suspected there were underlying political motivations underneath the call.

Last week, Biden’s administration announced that the order would come to an end on May 23rd, prompting praise from many Democrats and civil rights organizations as well as criticism from the GOP and moderate Democrats who questioned the administration’s plan to handle the increased migrants at the borders.

At a press briefing last month, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said, “We have every expectation that when the CDC ultimately decides it’s appropriate to lift Title 42, there will be an influx of people to the border…And so we are doing a lot of work to plan for that contingency.”

Yet the Texas government has already made a plan to be carried out by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, which will charter buses and flights that would send willing migrants who have been processed and released from federal custody to DC.

While Abbott’s announcement garnered some support, several critics admonished the governor, insisting that his decision was a political stunt for his reelection. On Twitter, the Texas Civil Rights Project said, “He’s wasting taxpayer dollars on a campaign tactic to demonize immigrants.”

Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), said in a statement, “He uses human beings as political pinatas to score political points six months before his election…It is mean-spirited to use refugees’ lives to manipulate public opinion.”

Texas leaders have stated that as early as Thursday, they will start offering bus rides to federal custody-released migrants as their court cases are pending. Abbott remarked that the busing would aid those “whose communities are being overwhelmed”. He said that as busing was already helping redistribute migrants within Texas, “As opposed to busing these people to San Antonio, let’s continue the ride all the way to Washington, DC.”

This wasn’t the only measure announced on Wednesday. Texas officials said that they would block “lower water crossings” with razor-wire and “boat blockades”, increase lighting in “prominent smuggling areas”, as well as implement inspections of commercial vehicles entering Texas, which Abbott stated would help prevent the smuggling of people and drugs.

The action is still underway but opinions have been made and lines have been drawn, promising a messy future for the subject.