Texas Governor Threatens to Send More Migrants to D.C. Amidst Policy Tensions

Texas Governor Greg Abbott threatens to send more migrant-filled buses to cities, including D.C., in response to Biden's alleged migrant retention plan in Texas.
A group of migrants seated inside a bus, looking out of the windows with a mix of hope and uncertainty.

AFLOE Insights:

  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott threatened to send “additional buses” of migrants to cities, including Washington, D.C., in reaction to a potential plan by the Biden administration to keep migrants in Texas.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reportedly considering a policy that would require certain undocumented immigrant families to stay in Texas. These families would be monitored using GPS devices, such as ankle bracelets.
  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams voiced significant concerns about the influx of migrants into the city. He highlighted that over 100,000 migrants have entered the city’s shelter system in the past year and warned of the potential repercussions on New York City.
  • Challenges at the southern U.S. border persist, with migrant numbers surging in July. Several Border Patrol sectors are nearing or have reached their capacity.

Texas Governor’s Migrant Move: More to D.C. Amid Tensions:

On Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared his intention to dispatch “additional buses” of migrants to various cities, notably Washington, D.C., in response to a potential plan by the Biden administration to retain migrants within Texas. This comes amidst heightened concerns from progressive city leaders, such as those in New York City, about the rising number of migrants.

“Biden considers forcing migrant families to remain in Texas. This scam was tried years ago & was shot down by a judge,” Abbott stated on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “We will send Biden the same swift justice.”

Furthermore, he added, “And, we will add even more buses of migrants to Washington D.C.”

Abbott’s remarks were prompted by an article in the Los Angeles Times. The piece discussed a potential strategy by the Department of Homeland Security to mandate certain undocumented immigrant families to stay within Texas, using GPS devices like ankle bracelets for monitoring.

The Times detailed that these families would undergo an asylum evaluation to ascertain their eligibility to remain. If found ineligible, their nearness to the border would make deportation more straightforward. This strategy is reminiscent of a Reagan-era policy, which necessitated migrants to stay close to the border during their application process.

While this proposal might align with conservative viewpoints advocating for the detention or close surveillance of migrants, it could also strain the Republican-led state and face opposition from its representatives. This initiative is perceived as an extension of the Family Expedited Removal Program, which enforces curfews and tracks family units relocating to major urban areas.

A representative from DHS clarified the administration’s stance, emphasizing their commitment to “expanding safe and orderly pathways for migrants to lawfully enter the United States, while imposing consequences to those who fail to use those pathways.”

“Since May 2023, DHS has removed or returned over 200,000 individuals, including over 17,000 individual family unit members,” they added. “DHS continuously holds policy and operational discussions on how to leverage our authorities to ensure a fair, humane, and effective immigration process that efficiently removes those without a lawful basis to stay in the country.”

This policy emerges as Democratic leaders from Massachusetts, Chicago, and New York City express concerns about the surge of migrants. Since August 2022, Texas has reportedly transported over 35,000 migrants to sanctuary cities, with over 13,300 directed to New York City.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams has been particularly outspoken, urging the Biden administration for more proactive measures. Adams, critical of Abbott’s migrant transportation strategy, recently highlighted the potential repercussions on New York City, noting the city’s intake of over 100,000 migrants into its shelter system in the past year.

“Let me tell you something, New Yorkers. Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City,” Adams expressed during a Town Hall meeting on the Upper West Side. “We’re getting 10,000 migrants a month.”

“We had a $12 billion deficit that we’re going to have to cut. Every service in this city is going to be impacted. All of us,” Adams continued. “It’s going to come to your neighborhoods. All of us are going to be impacted by this. I said it last year when we had 15,000. I’m telling you now with 110,000. The city we knew we’re about to lose. And we’re all in this together.”

Simultaneously, challenges at the southern border persist. July witnessed a surge in migrant numbers, with several Border Patrol sectors reaching or nearing their limits.

While Republicans, including Abbott, attribute the ongoing situation to the administration’s policies, Democrats and the administration are advocating for increased funds and a comprehensive immigration reform bill. However, Republicans have shown resistance, especially concerning provisions granting citizenship pathways for undocumented immigrants already in the U.S.

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