Texas Govt. Greg Abbott expands migrant busing effort in Philadelphia

The Republican-controlled state government of Texas on Tuesday expanded its highly publicized effort to move migrants released from federal border custody to Democratic-led cities, announcing it was sending a bus with migrants to Philadelphia.

The announcement marks the latest escalation of a campaign by Texas Gov. Greg AbbottA Republican for repudiating the Biden administration and its Democratic allies by the federal government over its handling of an unprecedented migration wave at the US-Mexico border over the past two years.

Before Tuesday’s announcement, Texas officials had already bused more than 13,000 migrants Washington DC, New York City And chicagoThree Democratic-led cities with “sanctuary” policies that limit local law enforcement cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation agents, according to state data.

As part of a separate effort authorized by outgoing Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona has also resettled several thousand migrants to Washington, D.C. in September, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis took credit for it Flying several dozen Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s VineyardBut it hasn’t announced additional operations since the incident sparked public outcry, a criminal investigation and a civil lawsuit.

Texas officials said the bus announced Tuesday will arrive at Philadelphia’s William H. Gray III 30th Street station Wednesday morning. “Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has long celebrated and fought for sanctuary city status, making the city an ideal addition to Texas’ list of drop-off locations,” Texas officials said in a statement.

immigration border crossing
A group of migrants stand next to the border wall as Border Patrol agents on May 21, 2022 in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Dario Lopez-Mills / AP

In a statement late Tuesday, Kenney called Texas’ busing efforts a “troubling policy” but said officials in Philadelphia and local humanitarian groups were ready to welcome migrants “with dignity and respect.”

“Philadelphians know that diversity is our strength, and we want to acknowledge the generosity and compassion we have already seen from residents and community partners since we were alerted to a possible bus coming to Philadelphia,” Kenney he said.

for months, Abbott, who comfortably won re-election earlier this monthhas said the migrant transport campaign has been successful in diverting national attention to the situation at the US-Mexico border, where federal officials recorded about 2.4 migrant encounters in fiscal year 2022, the 12-month period that ended Sept. 30.

Abbott and other Republicans have argued that the Biden administration is too lenient on immigrants entering the country illegally and is reversing tough Trump-era policies, such as a program that allows migrants to be sent to Mexico for US asylum hearings. waiting is required.

“Unless the Biden administration does its job and provides permanent border security to Texans and the American people, Texas will continue to do more to defend against border invasions than any other state in the nation’s history, including Philadelphia.” like adding more sanctuary cities.” “The drop-off location for our busing strategy,” Abbott said in a statement.

While the Biden administration rolled back some Trump-era asylum policies, it has put in place the most sweeping border ban in modern US history, expelling hundreds of thousands of migrants on public health grounds.

On Tuesday, the policy known as Title 42 was blocked by a federal judge who argued that it was properly enacted. The verdict can be stayed by the appeals court.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration and Democratic mayors have portrayed the Republican-led effort to move migrants to Democratic-led jurisdictions as a political stunt. Similarly, advocates have accused state officials of dehumanizing asylum seekers and using them as pawns in a policy dispute with the federal government.

In a statement, Philadelphia Mayor Kenney said, “It is truly abhorrent to hear today that Governor Abbott and his administration are continuing to implement their purposefully brutal policy by using immigrant families, including women and children, to shamelessly advance their warped political agenda.” continues to do.” Statement.

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