Texas Gov. Greg Abbott uses migrants as human props in 'publicity stunt'

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A bus carrying asylum-seekers from Texas arrived Wednesday outside Fox News headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A busload of migrants who claimed asylum at Texas' southern border arrived in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as part of what the White House called a "publicity stunt" on the part of Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Abbott had announced that he would send migrants by bus from Texas to Washington in protest of President Joe Biden's revocation of a Trump administration order under Title 42, a provision of the U.S. Code that that allows for the United States to deport asylum-seeking migrants in order to prevent the spread of disease.

Former President Donald Trump activated the policy under Title 42 to deport migrants claiming asylum at the border during the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that the deportations were necessary to stop the spread of the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on April 1 that the United States will stop using Title 42 to deport migrants at the end of May.

However, Republicans — who have been arguing against most pandemic mitigation efforts, such as mask mandates and vaccine requirements — don't want enforcement under Title 42 to end.

A trio of Republican attorneys general, two of whom are running for the U.S. Senate, sued the Biden administration to keep Title 42 in place.

Abbott, who is running for a third term as governor, blamed the administration for his actions.

"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 announcing that the migrants had arrived in the nation's capital. "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."

But Democrats, including Abbott's opponent in the race for governor, Beto O'Rourke, called the busing of migrants a "stunt."

"Republican leaders don't see immigrants as human. Just props to get some laughs and clicks," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted.

The busload of migrants was dropped off in front of Fox News headquarters; the right-wing cable channel covered the arrival as an "exclusive."

"Of *course* Greg Abbott ordered the bus with migrants on it to show up in front of Fox News headquarters here in DC. It's an incredibly dehumanizing and cynical stunt," Aaron Reichlin Melnick, senior policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, tweeted, adding that the policy is "deliberate cruelty that treats human beings like pawns."

Fox News has a history of fearmongering over immigration, including its coverage of a "caravan" of migrants headed for the U.S.-Mexico border ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Busing migrants to D.C. was not Abbott's only protest against the end of Title 42.

On April 6, Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to conduct inspections of trucks carrying goods between the United States and Mexico that have already been inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, causing massive delays at the border as angry truckers block crossings in protest on the Mexican side.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.