Did Greg Abbott Send Those Busloads Of Migrants To Kamala Harris's House? It Is A War On Christmas Mystery!
Saturday, on Christmas Eve, several buses containing about 130 immigrants were dropped off outside Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence. It was about 18 degrees, and the asylum seekers from Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Peru and Colombia were hardly dressed for the weather. Some had little more than the T-shirt on their backs or at best a light blanket.
CNN reports that after the first couple busloads were taken to local shelters, more buses arrived outside Harris’s house later Saturday night. Amy Fischer, a volunteer with the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, told CNN her organization was prepared for the Christmas Eve delivery after receiving a tip from a nongovernmental organization working on the Texas border. They were expected to arrive in New York but were diverted to Washington DC because of the horrific weather. this
It was a grim sight, unsuitable for caroling.
\u201cAnother bus just arrived outside @VP residence. One man tells me that traveled 2 days from Texas and he came from Ecuador. He said he was happy to be here. Bus includes children and women- moved to another bus by aid workers on ground after standing outside briefly in 14 degrees\u201d— Noah Gray (@Noah Gray) 1671937920
The mutual aid group claimed the Texas Division of Emergency Management sent the buses, presumably under the direction of GOP Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor has not confirmed this, possibly because he was too busy enjoying the Christmas holiday in his warm home. However, the White House condemned Abbott by name.
Abdullah Hasan, a White House spokesman, said, "Governor Abbott abandoned children on the side of the road in below-freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordinating with any federal or local authorities. This was a cruel, dangerous and shameful stunt.”
Abbott has sent thousands of migrants to DC, as well as New York, since this spring, as part of his supposed “busing policy." He has provided little to no advance notice, nor bothered to coordinate with Democratic leaders in the destination cities. It’s the same cruel stunt Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis has pulled.
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This is supposedly a performative “protest” against President Joe Biden’s border policies. Just last week, Abbott sent Biden a letter denouncing this “catastrophe of your own making,” and claimed, “with cold temperatures gripping Texas, your inaction to secure the southern border is putting the lives of migrants at risk, particularly in the City of El Paso.”
El Paso reached a high of 45 degrees on Christmas Eve, dipping as low as 21. That’s significantly warmer than DC, which experienced its coldest Christmas Eve on record with a high of just 22 degrees, lows between 10 and 18, and a brutal wind chill in the single digits. New York City was worse with a high of just 14 degrees.
If Abbott was genuinely worried that these migrants were "at risk of freezing to death on city streets,” he wouldn’t have sent them to much colder areas. Abbott is reportedly pissed that the Biden administration might successfully lift the Title 42 border expulsion policy that the Trump administration instituted to rapidly expel migrants over health concerns when the pandemic first began.
The irony here is that Abbott has pretty much operated as if the pandemic doesn’t exist, opposing vaccine and mask mandates. He just wants to keep Trump’s inhumane immigration policies in place. The Biden administration has repeatedly expressed a willingness to work with both parties on border security and immigration reform, but Republicans like Abbott would rather accuse Biden of having an “open border policy” (he doesn’t) and demand he visit the border so they can yell at him. They seem to prefer to use human beings as props in publicity stunts.
Fischer’s mutual aid group found churches and synagogues willing to open their doors for the migrants, many of whom were happy to get closer to family members in New York. During an interview with NPR, Fischer said, “While we know that Governor Abbott's intentions behind the bussing is really rooted in racism and xenophobia .... at the end of the day, everybody that arrived here last night was able to get free transportation on a charter bus that got them closer to their final destination.”
Abbott might’ve played Scrooge on Christmas Eve, but at least there are groups at there willing to demonstrate the true Christmas spirit.
[New York Times / CNN / NPR]
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."