Migrants sent from Texas arrive in frigid D.C. on Christmas Eve

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On Christmas Eve, three buses of immigrants arrived from Texas to the residence of Vice President Harris in Washington in the piercing cold. It’s the latest in an influx of newcomers sent to the Northeast from southern states, according to mutual aid groups.

About 110 to 130 men, women and children stepped off a bus outside the Naval Observatory Saturday night in 18-degree weather after a two-day trip from South Texas, according to the Immigrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network. I was. On Christmas Eve, the coldest day on record in the district, some immigrants were wrapped in blankets as Texas Governor Greg He was greeted by volunteers who received word that the Abbott (Republican) had sent a caravan.

Volunteers rushed to meet asylum seekers after a bus that was due to arrive in New York on Christmas Day was rerouted due to winter weather. Amid a hastily prepared welcome, the church on Capitol Hill agreed to temporarily shelter the group, and one of his mutual aid groups, SAMU First Response, offered 150 breakfasts, lunches by restaurant chain Sardis. , arranged dinner.

“DC remains a welcome addition,” said Amy Fischer, the network’s core organizer. “Whether it’s Christmas Eve, whether it’s freezing cold or warm outside, we’re always ready to welcome people with open arms and make them feel welcome in our community.”

In April, Abbott began offering free passage to asylum seekers to immigrant-friendly Democratic cities on the East Coast. This is an effort to pressure the Biden administration to crack down on the border. Other Republican governors, including Arizona’s Doug Ducey and Florida’s Ron DeSantis, also sent buses to New York and the nation’s capital.

Texas National Guard blocks flow of immigrants across El Paso border

The White House condemned the action in a Christmas Day statement, saying Abbott hadn’t made plans with federal officials before stepping down.

Abdullah Hassan, a White House spokesperson, said in an email to The Washington Post, “Governor Abbott will not allow children to be sent to the hospital in freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordinating with federal and local authorities.” “This was a cruel, dangerous and shameful stunt.”

“As we have repeatedly said, we are happy to talk with anyone, Republicans and Democrats, about real solutions such as comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures that President Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office. We work together, but these political games accomplish nothing and only risk lives,” Hasan said.

Abbott’s office did not respond to requests for comment and did not publicly acknowledge sending the bus. said it could not accommodate the continued influx of immigrants. He pointed to approaching Arctic weather and said new arrivals were in danger of “freezing to death in the streets of the city”. Temperatures in Texas dropped from 10 degrees to 20 degrees in some cities over the weekend.

“These communities and states are ill-equipped to do the jobs assigned to them by the federal government, which means they house the thousands of migrants who flood the country every day,” Abbott said. .

Abbott last week deployed the Texas National Guard in an attempt to stop immigrants from crossing the border anywhere other than the official point of entry, leaving people returning across the border without a chance to apply for asylum.

The policy, known as Title 42, was successfully challenged in court and was due to expire Wednesday, but Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the Supreme Court is considering a last-minute appeal by Abbott and others. ordered to keep it temporarily while A Republican governor prevents it from ending.

The Biden administration has said it is working to introduce new resources and policies at the border to deal with the large number of immigrants entering and seeking asylum. This is a long process that usually makes life in the United States possible. Work while you wait for the hearing.

In the letter, Mr. Abbott called the administration’s efforts so far “a catastrophe,” saying, “This terrible crisis in the Texas border region is a catastrophe of your own making.”

In DC, buses had been arriving all week—three from Arizona and three more from Texas—Tatiana Laborde knew it was going to be a “hard” time. But on Friday, she is the managing director of Laborde — SAMU First Response, an agency similar to the Mayor’s Office and Mutual Aid Network. Helping immigrants — I learned about three rerouted buses. They were due to arrive on Christmas Day, Sunday morning.

But then there was another surprise. A bus from Del Rio, Texas arrived early on Christmas Eve, parked near the Vice President’s Naval Observatory residence.

The destination appears to have more political significance than logistical purposes. Other buses stop at Union Station, but the Naval Observatory is not near any other transportation hub.

People riding the stream of state-sanctioned buses to Democratic cities are more focused on political maneuvering than on getting to safety, Laborde said.

“Keep in mind this is not going to stop,” Laborde said. “There has been a steady stream of migrants arriving in the district, although there has been a slowdown in the weeks. It has become the norm. It gives them the opportunity to stay in the country and those seeking political asylum may have a better chance.”

In response to the influx of immigrants traveling by bus from border states and Florida, local organizations and governments developed support mechanisms. DC has created an immigration services office to coordinate services such as temporary shelter, meals, and medical support.

The Immigrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, a collection of aid groups formed in response to Abbott’s latest tactic, mobilized volunteers who could welcome migrants when they got off the bus on Saturday, Fisher said. Alerted by a nongovernmental organization in contact with the Texas Emergency Management Agency, aid groups worked with the city to charter buses and take immigrants to church, where they provided asylum seekers with warm clothing and hot meals. Did.

Volunteers also helped migrants find ways to reach friends and family they wanted to stay with, as well as finding housing. Laborde said her team was able to purchase about 90 tickets for immigrants. New York and New Jersey were the main destinations. Boston was the farthest.

From border town to ‘border town’, immigrants traveling by bus seek new life in DC area

Fisher said most of the migrants on the buses that arrived on Saturday came from Central America or the Caribbean. About half of the group consisted of families. They came from Mexico through unauthorized and unsafe points along the border, but under Title 42 public health policy, a pandemic-era policy used to deport immigrants, official border checkpoints remains closed.

“This was the final stage of a tragic journey for them,” she said. There are reports of cruelty. Many of them were really happy to arrive with smiles on their faces.”

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