The first bus carrying illegal immigrants from Texas arrived in Washington on April 13.
The illegal aliens were dropped off between Union Station and the U.S. Capitol, according to the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
“As the federal government continues to turn a blind eye to the border crisis, the State of Texas will remain steadfast in our efforts to fill in the gaps and keep Texans safe,” Abbott said in a statement. “By busing migrants to Washington, D.C., the Biden administration will be able to more immediately meet the needs of the people they are allowing to cross our border. Texas should not have to bear the burden of the Biden administration’s failure to secure our border.”
Abbott, a Republican, directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management earlier this month to begin coordinating “voluntary transportation” to Washington and other locations outside Texas of immigrants released from federal custody.
The bus that arrived on Wednesday was filled with immigrants who came from Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, Abbott’s office said.
Footage captured by Fox News showed the immigrants getting off the bus several blocks from the Capitol at approximately 8:13 a.m.
It wasn’t clear which officials were processing the immigrants.
The Texas division declined to comment, as did U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Two men in khakis and black, collared shirts greeted the immigrants and gave them cell phones as they got off. They also looked up information from a wristband that each person wore. They exchanged hugs and handshakes with the aliens after processing them.
Everybody getting off the bus had a manila folder.
Many were men.
Luis Alberto, a Venezuelan national who was on the bus, told NTD that the group crossed the border into Texas on April 12 after being robbed by cartels and Mexican police officers.
“When we got to Texas we had nothing because they had taken everything. We heard there was help, and a bus to Washington, and there would be someone to facilitate travel, because in Texas there is no help,” he said as to why the immigrants agreed to get on the bus.
Catholic Charities assisted the immigrants after they got off the bus.
Most of the immigrants are going to other areas, Sister Sharlet Wagner, executive director of the Newcomer Network which the charity runs, told NTD.
“Most of them do have family or friends in the place where they really want to go. We’re happy to help them if they want to stay here. Most are choosing to move on,” she said.
Organizers bought food for the immigrants and bus tickets for those who want to go elsewhere.
Abbott announced the plan during a press conference on April 6. He said it was necessary because Texas has been “overwhelmed by hordes of illegal immigrants who are being dropped off by the Biden administration” and transporting them to the capitol of the United States would allow the federal government “to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border.”
Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, the United States has recorded an unprecedented number of illegal immigrant encounters at the U.S.–Mexico border.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki previously called Abbott’s bussing plan a “publicity stunt.”
Asked about Wednesday’s arrival, she told reporters in Washington that “these are all migrants who have been processed by CBP and are free to travel so it’s nice the state of Texas is helping them get to their final destination as they await the outcome of their immigration proceedings.” CBP stands for Customs and Border Protection.
Abbott’s office says a second bus is en route to Washington.
Nick Ciolino contributed to this report.