(WASHINGTON) — A second group of asylum seekers arrived in Washington, D.C., Thursday on a charter bus after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to transport migrants from Texas to D.C.
This comes just one day after the first bus of undocumented migrants from Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, was transported to the nation’s capital.
Abbott said the order is a direct response to President Joe Biden’s plans to end Title 42 expulsions on May 23. The controversial policy, which the Trump administration implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, restricts migrants from coming into the country under the auspices of a public health emergency.
“Leaders in Congress have no idea about the chaos they have caused by the open border policies and they refuse to come down and see firsthand and talk to the people who are really they’re just dropping bombs of illegal immigrants from countries across the entire globe, leaving those local communities to have to grapple with it,” Abbott told reporters on Wednesday.
The Texas governor added, “there will be more that will be arriving whether by bus or plane so that Washington is going to have to respond and deal with the same challenges that we’re doing.”
Chris Magnus, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPD) commissioner, expressed concerns over Abbott leading the operation without “adequate coordination with the federal government.”
“As individuals await the outcome of their immigration proceedings, they are legally obligated to report in for the next steps in their immigration process and permitted to travel elsewhere. CBP’s close partnerships with other government and non-governmental stakeholders are essential to this effort, and to ensuring fairness, order, and humanity in the process.” Magnus said in a statement. “Governor Abbott is taking actions to move migrants without adequately coordinating with the federal government and local border communities. CBP has always worked closely with and supported border communities in Texas, many of which CBP personnel call home.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s press secretary Susana Castillo told ABC News in a statement on Wednesday, “Our Administration continues to work with NGOs [Non-Government Organizations] who are providing resources to the arriving individuals and families. Our partners were able to triage the first bus, which included individuals hoping to settle outside of the region.
Immigration advocacy groups and faith leaders held a joint press conference in front of Washington, D.C.,’s Union Station to welcome asylum seekers who arrived in Washington D.C. on Thursday.
Organizers from Welcome with Dignity, Carecen, and CASA, told reporters they plan to help asylum seekers as they connect with their family members in the United States, as well as, provide legal services if needed.
“Our community is ready to receive 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 that. We have the support of the local government,” Abel Nunez, the executive director of Carecen, a Central American refugee nonprofit, said.
“I invite the governor of Texas, if he wants to continue to send immigrants to this region, to coordinate with us so that we can ensure that we can provide the best service and we can meet all their legal obligations, ” Nunez said.
During the presser, immigration advocates also called out Biden for the delays in passing immigration reform. Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, said federal legislation is the only long-term solution to address the ongoing crisis.
“I want to send a very clear message to the Biden administration: It is time to pass immigration reform. I remember when he was running for president, he promised that if he controlled the White House and Congress, they were going to pass immigration reform. We are still demanding that. That is the only real solution to this crisis that we are facing,” Torres said.
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