Abbott promises ‘even more buses’ if Biden admin pushes reported plan to keep migrants in Texas
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott late Thursday promised he would send “even more buses” of migrants to cities, including Washington, D.C., if the Biden administration moved forward with a reported plan to keep migrants in Texas — just as the administration is facing pressure from left-wing officials in cities like New York City over migrant traffic.
“Biden considers forcing migrant families to remain in Texas. This scam was tried years ago & was shot down by a judge,” Abbott said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We will send Biden the same swift justice.”
“And, we will add even more buses of migrants to Washington D.C.,” he said.
Abbott was reacting to a Los Angeles Times report that described a potential Department of Homeland Security policy to force some illegal immigrant family units to remain in Texas by tracking them with GPS monitoring devices, including ankle bracelets.
The Times reported that the families would be put through an asylum process to determine if they could stay, and if not, they could be more easily deported due to their proximity to the border. The outlet highlighted that it echoed a Reagan-era plan that forced migrants to remain near the border while their applications were considered.
While it would tap into conservative arguments that migrants need to be detained or closely tracked so they can quickly be deported instead of being released into the country with a notice to appear in court, it would also put pressure on the Republican state and likely raise significant objections from lawmakers in the state. The program would be an expansion of the Family Expedited Removal Program, which imposes curfews and monitors family units that have traveled to large cities.
In response to the report, a DHS spokesperson said that the administration “is committed to expanding safe and orderly pathways for migrants to lawfully enter the United States, while imposing consequences to those who fail to use those pathways.”
“Since May 2023, DHS has removed or returned over 200,000 individuals, including over 17,000 individual family unit members,” they said. “DHS continuously holds policy and operational discussions on how to leverage our authorities to ensure a fair, humane, and effective immigration process that efficiently removes those without a lawful basis to stay in the country.”
The policy also comes as Democratic officials in areas like Massachusetts, Chicago and New York City have been increasingly vocal about the flood of migrants into their jurisdiction — some of whom have been bused by Abbott since last year. On Tuesday, the Texas governor said his state government has bused more than 35,000 migrants to self-declared sanctuary cities, including more than 13,300 to New York City since August 2022.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been one of the loudest voices in that regard, calling on the Biden administration to take more action. On Wednesday, Adams, who has also been a fierce critic of the busing of migrants into his city by Abbott, warned the crisis threatens to “destroy New York City.” The Big Apple has seen more than 100,000 migrants enter its shelter system since last year.
“Let me tell you something, New Yorkers. Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City. Destroy New York City,” Adams said Wednesday during a Town Hall meeting on the Upper West Side. “We’re getting 10,000 migrants a month.”
“We had a $12 billion deficit that we’re going to have to cut. Every service in this city is going to be impacted. All of us,” Adams said. “It’s going to come to your neighborhoods. All of us are going to be impacted by this. I said it last year when we had 15,000. I’m telling you now with 110,000. The city we knew we’re about to lose. And we’re all in this together.”
Republicans, including Abbott, have blamed the administration’s policies for the ongoing crisis. Democrats and the administration have instead called for more funding and a comprehensive immigration reform bill — which Republicans have rejected in part due to the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and Pat Ward contributed to this report.