Texas Governor Greg Abbott is moving forward with plans to bus undocumented migrants to Washington DC despite concerns from most legal experts about his complete lack of authority to do so.
The Republican administration of Texas oversaw the first arrival of a bus full of undocumented migrants in the nation’s capital on Wednesday; the bus arrived at the headquarters of the right-wing network Fox News, which was first to report on the scene and published an article minutes after their arrival.
The White House called Mr. Abbott’s efforts a publicity stunt. State officials have no legal authority outside their own jurisdiction, and it is unclear whether the group of migrants who arrived Wednesday did so with the cooperation, consent or knowledge of officials of the city of Washington DC.
A request for comment was not immediately returned by a Fox spokesperson. The Independent also reached out to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office to determine if her administration provides support for migrants once they arrive.
“As the federal government continues to roll back common sense policies that once kept our communities safe, our local law enforcement has stepped up to protect Texans from dangerous criminals, deadly drugs and illegal contraband. that are invading the Lone Star State,” Abbott said in a statement.
The bus that arrived on Wednesday contained “dozens” of migrants, but a full count was not immediately available. Texas officials said the charter buses they planned to use for the trips could carry about 40 people each; according to Fox, some of the people who arrived on Wednesday did so as family units.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki pointed to Mr. Abbott’s apparent lack of legal status for the plan at a recent White House press conference and called Mr. Abbott’s announcement. Abbott of little more than a “publicity stunt” in an election year.
Mr Abbott is running for re-election this year and faces a challenge in the form of Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic congressman from the state who is now trying to oust the governor after his failed bid to run the 2020 presidential election.
Whether or not the governor is found guilty of breaking the law with his decision to transport migrants across state lines to what he sees as a Democratic-held stronghold is somewhat secondary to the fact that Wednesday’s action is a clear escalation in the row between the White House and Republican governors and lawmakers over the immigration issue.
Republicans have so far spent the sum total of Biden’s presidency complaining that the president’s rollback of immigration policies widely criticized as inhumane was actually encouraging northward migration across Central America and from South. The White House has given Vice President Kamala Harris responsibility for the situation and has worked to address what she identifies as the root causes of migration in the Americas, but little progress has been made. on this front.
The Biden administration recently announced that the CDC would rescind Title 42 authority granted under the Trump administration to refuse asylum seekers at the border, a move that Republicans say will further spur illegal migration and asylum applications, which are legal but require a person to be physically present at the U.S. border or inside the country for applications to be processed.
As a result, the GOP insisted that Joe Biden and the CDC reinstate the rule and threatened to block funding for future federal measures to help Americans with Covid-19 in response. This confrontation led Ms Psaki to accuse the GOP of holding Covid-19 funding hostage during a Fox News Sunday weekend maintenance.
Immigration and fears of so-called migrant “caravans” have become favorite bogeymen on the right as the GOP once again enters election mode and seeks to regain control of the House and Senate in the fall.