June 29, 2022



Texas Republicans, Democrats call out Gov. Abbott’s plan to bus migrants to D.C.

4 min read

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that he plans to send undocumented immigrants to the steps of the U.S. Capitol via charter buses in order to address an expected influx of migrants coming to Texas. The Republican leader later clarified that migrants would only be sent to D.C. if they wanted to travel there.

“We are sending them to the United States Capitol where the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border,” Abbott said. 

The Republican governor, who is seeking reeelection this year and has strongly campaigned on border security, announced the new plan in response to the end of a pandemic-era public-health order used to turn away migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. The backlash over Abbott’s announcement was swift from both Democrats and Republicans across the state. 

Abbott’s Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke was one of the first to call out the plan. “If Abbott focused on solutions instead of stunts, then Texas could have made some real progress on this issue over the last seven years,” the former El Paso congressman shared in a statement shared Wednesday. On Twitter Thursday, O’Rourke stated it’s “Just another political stunt, financed by the people of Texas.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) also took to Twitter and called Abbott “incompetent” over the plan. He instead directed attention to the fallout from last year’s Winter Storm Uri. “[Abbott’s] incompetence during a severe winter storm last year contributed to the deaths of hundreds of Texans,” Castro tweeted. “He wants us to forget that by getting people mad at immigrants. Governor, why don’t you just try to keep the lights on for us?”

The Texas Democratic Party called the move an “embarrassing political stunt,” and compared the plan to the governor’s Operation Lone Star, a 2021 effort during which Abbott sent thousands of National Guard troops to the U.S. southern border to beef up its security at a cost of about $2.5 million per week to Texas taxpayers. “It’s time to stop treating humans as pawns and create real, humane policy,” the group tweeted. After all, Greg’s had 7 years to do so.”

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Abbott also received criticism on behalf of members of his own party. Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Texas) on social media called the announcement “a gimmick.”

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso) tweeted that Abbott has “developed a sickening record of using human beings for political purposes. Vulnerable migrants are more than pawns for political theatre. Our country is supposed to be better than this.” 

Rochelle Garza, Democratic contender for Texas Attorney General and former lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, tweeted  that “Abbott’s recent political stunt against asylum seekers is a waste of taxpayer dollars and a distraction from all the ways he is failing Texans.”

Despite the criticism, some Republicans backed Abbott on the announcement, including Sen. Ted Cruz who called Abbott’s idea “excellent.” The Houston Republican also advocated for sending migrants to other places, including cities in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut and New York. It’s unclear why he singled out these cities in particular. 

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In response to Abbott’s announcement, Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) while on Fox News Thursday said he “likes the sound of that” and suggested Abbott also send the buses filled with migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’s house. “Put them there so she can start paying attention to this crisis at our border,” Crenshaw concluded. 

On Twitter, state Rep. Chip Roy (TX-District 21) who has previously said Abbott’s Operation Lone Star isn’t working to address border security, said the buses were a “giant step forward.”

“I hope those vehicle inspections are robust, the boat blockades stretch from McAllen to El Paso (& take volunteers), & buses go to the Capitol,” Roy said in his post. “Keep at it @GovAbbott, & we’ll defend these actions.”

Some Republican leaders outside of the state also chimed in to co-sign Abbott’s proposal. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee wrote in a Twitter post, “I’m sure Joe, Kamala, Nancy and Chuck will be glad to put them up at their D.C. homes. And AOC will surely celebrate this.” 


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