The state of Texas followed through on its promise to bus refugees released by the Border Patrol to communities on the border.
The first charter bus, which can transport up to 40 people, arrived in the country’s capital around 9 a.m. local time Wednesday, where it delivered passengers between the U.S. Capitol and Union Station.
The bus picked up people who had been released from federal custody somewhere in the Del Rio sector, according to a high-level state official involved in the operation. A second bus is on its way to Washington from the Del Rio region, according to a second source.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement after the drop-off, saying, “As the federal government continues to ignore the border problem, Texas will keep trying to plug the gaps and keep Texans safe. We are busing migrants to Washington, D.C., because the Biden Administration will be able to better fulfill the demands of those they are permitting across our border. The Biden Administration’s failure to secure our border should not fall on Texas.”
Migrants from Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba, and Nicaragua were on the first bus. The United States is restricted in its ability to return people to those nations, requiring officials to detain or release them at the border. Migrants are subsequently detained or released as a part of removal proceedings that may not be concluded in court for many years.
A Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service official said the organization was not given advanced warning from Texas, and it was unable to be on site for the drop-offs.
“Can affirm that LIRS was not alerted in advance about this. Faith groups, community groups, and kind-hearted citizens are ready to respond to the request for assistance. Gov. Abbott never made that call; instead, he used vulnerable migrants as political pawns,” Tim Young, the group’s press secretary, tweeted on Monday night.
Following criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, Texas officials argue that busing refugees to Washington is a calamity evacuation and not a “kidnapping” as some people argued.