Abbott says Texas will send charter buses to Washington with migrants

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday his state is taking “unprecedented measures” to counter an expected surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border, including dispatching charter buses carrying migrants to Washington, DC

Other measures announced include “increased security inspections of vehicles” crossing entry points in Texas, boat blockades in the Rio Grande River, barbed wire deployed at “underwater crossings and high-traffic areas,” and the National Guard beginning “mass migration rehearsals.”

Abbott, a Republican, also directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to begin coordinating charter buses to bring migrants into DC

“The Biden administration will be able to more directly address the needs of the people they allow to come across our border,” Abbott said during a news conference flanked by the Texas Department of Public Safety and other officials.

Abbott later said that the first destination of the buses “will be the steps of the United States Capitol.”

The movements come in response to the End of May end of track 42a pandemic-era order enacted under the Trump administration that allows US immigration officials to quickly deport migrants and asylum seekers.

“The federal government plans up to 18,000 illegal immigrants every day,” Abbott said. “We potentially have more people crossing our border illegally by the end of this year than live in Los Angeles.”

Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted his support for Abbott’s plans, calling them “excellent ideas” and suggesting additional locations for migrant charter buses to be sent, including locations in states such as Massachusetts, California and New York.

Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman and Democratic presidential nominee now running for governor in this year’s race against Abbott, accused the Republican incumbent of choosing “stunts over solutions.”

Abbott said during Wednesday’s news briefing that further action by his state “will be announced next week.”

Citing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. immigration officials have deported over 1.7 million migrants under Title 42 over the past two years — 70% of them under President Biden, who stuck by the policy despite supporting Trump’s other border initiatives had undone .

After two defeats in federal court in March and mounting pressure from leading Democrats in Congress, the Biden administration announced on April 1 that it would close Title 42 by the end of May.

Asked Wednesday by CBS Evening News host and editor-in-chief Norah O’Donnell whether the end of Title 42 would lead to an increase in migration, he said: Alejandro Mayorkas, Minister of Homeland Security said: “It is very difficult to predict what the migration will be like, but we are planning different scenarios.”

“What distinguishes us from the past is that we will not engage in cruelty policies that disregard our asylum laws,” he added. “We are rebuilding a system that was completely dismantled.”

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