Democrats are blasting the busing of migrants to the Washington, D.C., residence of Vice President Kamala Harris on Christmas Eve. They have aimed at Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who they blame for dropping groups off in the below-freezing temperatures on holiday.
The incident was the most recent in a months-long effort by Abbott and other border-state governors to urge the President to bolster the immigration policy and wasn’t the first time migrants have been sent to Harris’s home. However, it will likely intensify the fight over immigration, especially since Title 42 hangs in the balance.
“Governor Abbott abandoned children on the side of the road in below-freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordinating with any Federal or local authorities,” said White House Press secretary Abdullah Hasan in a statement. “This was a cruel, dangerous, and shameful stunt.”
Three migrant busloads arrived outside the vice president’s home, the Naval Observatory, according to reports.
A local aid group, the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, took the migrants to a church to receive assistance. The organization said Gov. Abbott was behind the drop-off, with the group learning about the buses a few days prior.
According to a volunteer with the organization, Amy Fischer, the three buses were initially driving to New York but rerouted and “shifted to D.C. because of the weather.”
Fischer elaborated, saying, “It really does show the cruelty behind Gov. Abbott in his insistence on continuing to bus people here without care.” She continued saying the migrants “don’t have clothes for this kind of weather, and they’re freezing.”
Democrats are also criticizing Abbott’s move, including the timing of the latest episode.
“Worthless @GovAbbott dropping off people with no money and no means on Christmas Eve in 15-degree weather near the V.P.’s residence,” tweeted Democrat Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas on Sunday morning. “How Christian of you, Greg Abbott. Being a heartless POS isn’t going to make you the next Republican President.”
Gov. Abbott defends sending migrants to D.C.
Officials and aid groups in El Paso and other Texas cities have struggled to keep pace with the number of migrants flooding the border amid uncertainty over whether Title 42 will continue. The United States Supreme Court ruled last week that the policy, which began during the Covid-19 pandemic, and allows the federal government to remove migrants rapidly, can continue as the legal battle over the program continues.
In a letter to Biden, Abbott said the state is not equipped to house thousands of migrants coming to the U.S. Gov. Abbott also acknowledged the biting temperatures in Texas.
“Your policies will leave many people in the bitter, dangerous cold as the polar vortex moves into Texas,” wrote Abbott. The letter didn’t mention plans to send more buses of migrants to Harris’ home.
El Paso declared a state of emergency last week in response to shelters being unable to house all migrants in the freezing temperatures. The City Council extended the declaration for an additional 30 days on Friday.
Christmas morning, members of the Texas National Guard built a barbed-wire fence at the border in El Paso. In a tweet, Governor Abbott said he was grateful to the Guard for them serving on Christmas Day.