The US warns of a wave of immigrants on the border with Mexico 0:37
(WABNEWS) —- Texas will send buses full of undocumented immigrants to the steps of the US Capitol, Governor Greg Abbott announced Wednesday, in response to the Biden administration ending a health order from the era of the pandemic that effectively blocked immigrants from entering the US.
Former President Donald Trump implemented the order, known as Title 42, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. His administration said the order was to help prevent the spread of the virus across the US borders with Mexico and Canada, but public health officials at the time suspected it was politically motivated. Biden announced last week that the order would end on May 23.RELATED
“To help local officials whose communities are being overwhelmed by hordes of undocumented immigrants that the administration lets in, Texas is providing charter buses to drop off these immigrants that the Biden administration let in to Washington,” Abbott said during a news conference this week. Wednesday from the US-Mexico border in Weslaco, Texas.
The state has assembled a pool of up to 900 buses for the operation, according to Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, who joined the governor on Wednesday.
A migrant who has been processed and released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “must volunteer to be transported and show documentation from DHS” to board a bus or flight, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
Abbott, who is running for re-election this year, has been an outspoken critic of President Joe Biden’s White House, attributing a surge in immigrants to his immigration policies, though there were also spikes during the Trump administration. This latest effort by the governor is part of a series of initiatives in the past year to limit undocumented immigrants entering the US from Mexico and police the border.
When Title 42 ends, the federal government expects as many as 18,000 undocumented immigrants to cross the border each day, in the worst case scenario, Abbott said.
“That’s more than half a million undocumented immigrants each month from more than 150 different countries around the world,” the governor said. “That goes way beyond what Homeland Security Secretary Johnson said was a crisis. It’s unprecedented and it’s dangerous.”
The head of the US Border Patrol told WABNEWS last month that he is preparing for about 8,000 people to be apprehended daily this spring. The deterioration of conditions in Latin America, made worse by the pandemic, is among the reasons for the migrations.
Also Wednesday, Abbott signed what he called a “zero tolerance policy” for unsafe vehicles used to smuggle migrants across the border and said it will be implemented immediately. The governor claims the policy is a byproduct of cartel border crossings and noted there may be more traffic stops from Mexico to Texas for vehicle inspections.
In March 2021, Abbott launched “Operation Lone Star”, citing a crisis on the southern border of the United States. The operation relied on the resources of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to police the border. The operation, at one point, added more than 10,000 service members.
As Abbott has deployed thousands of people to the US-Mexico border, Democratic lawmakers and even some of the National Guard members involved in the mission have criticized the operation as overtly political and a waste of resources.
Other Abbott initiatives have included plans to build a border wall.
Busing and unsafe vehicle policies will be added to Operation Lone Star, and Abbott said more directives will be announced next week.
WABNEWS’s Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this report.