In a significant move that has stirred controversy and debate, Texas Governor Greg Abbott revealed that his state has transported more than 50,000 individuals who illegally entered the United States to various sanctuary cities across the country. This initiative, which began in April 2022, aims to address the increasing challenges faced by Texas border towns due to an influx of unauthorized border crossings.
The majority of those bused have found their way to New York City, followed closely by Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Denver, and Los Angeles. Governor Abbott initiated the busing strategy to help manage the surge of people who have illegally entered the U.S., many of whom were released unlawfully.
Initially, foreign nationals who entered Texas illegally were sent to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Over 12,500 individuals chose to be transported to the capital. However, the program’s scope expanded to include New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia last year. Since then, over 18,500 individuals have been bused to New York City, more than 13,500 to Chicago, and over 3,200 to Philadelphia.
Governor Abbott’s latest directive involved deploying additional buses to Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, in response to a recent surge in illegal border crossings. These buses were sent to what are termed “self-declared sanctuary cities” with the aim of providing relief to the overwhelmed Texas border towns.
Governor Abbott emphasized that Texas would continue deploying buses until President Joe Biden fulfills his constitutional duty to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. Adults must sign a waiver for themselves and minors under their care, provide Department of Homeland Security documentation, and select their preferred sanctuary city destination from the six available options.
To facilitate the smooth movement of individuals out of Texas, Texas border mayors and county judges have been instructed to inform the Texas Department of Emergency Management about any drop-offs coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security.
Data from the state indicates that the majority of those seeking taxpayer-funded transportation north are choosing New York City and Chicago as their destinations. Denver has also become a third destination, although the primary choices remain Chicago and New York City.
Interestingly, the city of El Paso, led by a Democratic administration, began its own busing strategy over a year ago, funded through money received from FEMA. This initiative saw a sudden surge of arrivals in April 2022, with the overwhelming majority hailing from Venezuela, accounting for roughly 70% of those transported. The remainder comes from countries like Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Cuba.
El Paso’s daily release of approximately 1,534 border crossers into the community further emphasizes the significance of the transportation initiative. Every day, 480 individuals are bused from El Paso to Chicago, New York City, and Denver.
This unprecedented busing initiative continues to be a subject of national discussion, raising questions about border security, immigration policies, and the roles of sanctuary cities in addressing the challenges posed by unauthorized border crossings. While the program aims to alleviate the strain on Texas border towns, it remains a contentious topic with diverse perspectives on how to address this complex issue.