(NEW YORK) — Gov. Greg Abbott said on Wednesday that Texas bused a group of migrants to Los Angeles, adding it to a growing list of so-called “sanctuary cities” targeted by the Republican governor.
The move expanded his efforts to bus migrants outside of Texas, which has sent other buses to Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Denver and Philadelphia.
“Texas’ small border towns remain overwhelmed and overrun by the thousands of people illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico because of President Biden’s refusal to secure the border,” the governor said in a statement.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said the governor bused more than 40 people.
“It is abhorrent that an American elected official is using human beings as pawns in his cheap political games,” Bass said in a statement.
A staunch opponent of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, Abbott’s busing efforts have drawn the ire of the officials across the country. In April 2022, he directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to begin transporting migrants to cities outside of Texas. According to the governor’s office, the state has transported more than 21,600 migrants.
Nongovernmental organizations and city agencies across the country have had to scramble to meet the groups of migrants as they’re dropped off, often with no heads up from Texas government officials or the organizations they’ve contracted to help dispatch the buses. In September 2022 the governor bused migrants to a location near Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in Washington, D.C.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 presidential contenders, has also launched his own efforts to transport migrants. In September he flew nearly 50 migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Civil rights attorneys representing some of the migrants filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the governor and other state officials of misleading migrants by promising resources if they boarded the flights.
Earlier this month, DeSantis transported another 36 migrants from Texas to Sacramento, California. California Attorney General Rob Bonta said the Department of Justice is determining whether a crime was committed.
Shortly after taking office in December 2022, Bass directed city agencies to begin planning for the possibility her city would be the target of “a despicable stunt that Republican Governors have grown so fond of,” she said in a statement.
“This did not catch us off guard, nor will it intimidate us,” Bass said, adding that emergency management and law enforcement officials found out about the incoming bus before it arrived.
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