On one of the coldest Christmas Eves on record in the nation’s capital, about 130 migrants from Texas were bused to the vice president’s home.
According to a mutual aid group, over a hundred migrants arrived near Vice President Kamala Harris’s home on Saturday evening, one of the coldest Christmas Eves on record in the capital.
Volunteers expected three buses carrying approximately 130 immigrants to arrive in New York on Christmas Day, but the buses were diverted to the Washington area due to road closures and freezing temperatures, according to Madhvi Bahl, an organiser with the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network.
Ms. Bahl added that migrants arrived in Washington after a 36-hour journey, some with nothing more than a T-shirt or a light blanket. The mutual aid organisation assisted in coordinating the migrants’ travel and housing, as well as providing food, coats, shoes, and other warm clothing to combat temperatures that dropped below 20 degrees.
According to the mutual aid organisation, the buses were dispatched by the Texas Division of Emergency Management in accordance with Governor Greg Abbott’s directive. Mr. Abbott’s office did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
“They’ve been doing it for a few months now; it’s all for show,” Ms. Bahl said of the governor’s office. “The point is the cruelty. It’s abhorrent to use people for political purposes in this way.”
The three buses appeared to be the most recent sent by Republican governors along the southern border to Democratic-led cities, and the throngs of migrants were not the first to arrive near Ms. Harris’s home on the grounds of the Naval Observatory.
Mr. Abbott announced in April that the state would begin chartering buses, sending a political message to cities such as Washington, New York, and Chicago while relieving some of the strain caused by record levels of immigration.
Mr. Abbott criticised President Biden’s border policies in a letter last week, saying the influx put migrants “at risk of freezing to death on city streets.”
“Texas has borne a disproportionate burden as a result of your open border policies,” he wrote. “It is not the job of border states like Texas to address this crisis.”
Mr. Abbott was concerned about the possibility of repealing Title 42, a pandemic-era public health policy that allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants.
Thousands of migrants were expected to cross the Texas border on Wednesday, when the policy was set to expire, resulting in an increase in border crossings. However, the Supreme Court ordered a postponement of the policy’s expiration date, extending the health order for at least several days.
In a statement issued on Christmas Day, the White House condemned the busing of migrants to Washington.
“Governor Abbott abandoned children on the side of the road on Christmas Eve in subfreezing temperatures without consulting with any federal or local authorities,” said Abdullah Hasan, a White House spokesman. “This was a cruel, perilous, and dishonourable stunt.”
Mr. Hasan went on to say that the administration has repeatedly stated its willingness to collaborate with both parties on border security and immigration reform, claiming that “these political games accomplish nothing and only endanger lives.”