More migrants bused to Kamala Harris’ home on Christmas Eve | US immigration
Three buses full of migrants were dropped off outside US Vice President Kamala Harris’ home in Washington DC late on Christmas Eve, the latest episode in a escalating battle between Joe Biden’s White House and governors of southern Republican states on federal immigration policy.
Migrants from Central and South America, believed to have been sent from Texas, were dropped off in sub-zero temperatures, some wearing only sweatshirts and shorts.
Far-right Texas Governor Greg Abbott has already sent buses home from the Harris Naval Observatory. An organizer from the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, Amy Fischer, told local news station ABC7 that Abbott orchestrated the drop as a political stunt.
“It really shows the cruelty behind Governor Abbott and his insistence on continuing to ferry people here without worrying about people arriving late at night on Christmas Eve when it’s so cold,” Fischer said.
The group took the travelers to the shelter of a local church where they received hot food and clothing.
Tatiana Laborde with Samu First Response, an aid group that was also there to meet the buses, said similar drops had been made in Washington since April. “Christmas Eve and freezing cold are no different,” Laborde told CNN. “We are always here to welcome people with open arms.”
The arrivals were the latest salvo in an effort by Abbott to force the Biden administration to tighten immigration controls at the US border with Mexico. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey have also ferried migrants to Democratic-run cities.
“You and your administration must end the lie that the border is secure and immediately deploy federal resources to address the serious problems you have caused,” Abbott wrote in a letter to Biden last week.
Abbott added, “You must carry out the tasks that the American Constitution imposes on you and secure the southern border before more innocent lives are lost.”
On Friday, US Customs and Border Protection reported that 233,740 migrants were apprehended at the southern border in November, marking the highest number on record for the month. The border agency reported that of 204,000 “unique encounters”, 35% were from Cuba and Nicaragua.
In a statement released Saturday, the federal Department of Homeland Security said it “continues to fully enforce our immigration and public health laws at the border.”
“While temperatures remain dangerously low all along the border, no one should put their life in the hands of smugglers, or risk their life attempting to cross to be removed,” the Department of Homeland Security added, warning that “anyone who attempts to enter without permission is subject to deportation” under the policy known as Title 42.
Last week, the United States Supreme Court temporarily suspended the expiration of the policy allowing border officials to turn back asylum seekers on public health grounds. Trump’s White House imposed it during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Days before Title 42 expired, the border town of El Paso, Texas declared a state of emergency after the number of migrants surged. If allowed to expire, Abbott warned that the number of people illegally entering the United States “will only increase”.