By Zachary Stieber
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.
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.
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.
“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 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.
There are few signs the flood is waning. Both critics and supporters of Biden’s treatment of the border say a spike is expected when Title 42, a pandemic-era authority, expires in May.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Abbott’s bussing plan a “publicity stunt.”
Abbott’s “own office admits that a migrant would need to voluntarily be transported and that he can’t compel them to,” she said. “Because again, enforcement of our country’s immigration laws lies with the federal government, not a state.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday’s arrival.
Abbott’s office says a second bus is en route to Washington.