Texas Gov. Abbott defends stunt that left migrants in below-freezing temperatures


The White House condemned the 'cruel' and 'dangerous' action to leave more than 100 migrants, including children, outside the vice president's residence on Christmas Eve.

Representatives of Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday defended his decision to bus a group of migrants, including children, from Texas to Washington, D.C., last week in freezing temperatures. Abbott's representatives said the migrants were transported in protest of President Joe Biden's immigration policies, but Republicans have refused to back efforts to reform the immigration system.

On Christmas Eve, three buses arrived at the Naval Observatory, the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris, with 139 people on board. At the time of arrival in Washington, the temperature was 18 degrees, which is below freezing.

The White House criticized Abbott's actions. In a statement, White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan 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."

Hasan added, "As we have repeatedly said, we are willing to work with anyone — Republican or Democrat alike — on real solutions, like the comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures President Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office, but these political games accomplish nothing and only put lives in danger."

In response, Renae Eze, Abbott's communications director, said in a statement: "The White House is full of a bunch of hypocrites, led by the Hypocrite-in-Chief. ... Instead of their hypocritical complaints about Texas providing much-needed relief to our overrun and overwhelmed border communities, President Biden and Border Czar Harris need to step up and do their jobs to secure the border—something they continue failing to do."

Republican figures often make the allegation that the Biden administration has not secured the southern border. They, along with the anti-immigration group Federation for American Immigration Reform (designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), have been falsely accusing Biden of creating a "border crisis" since he took office in 2021.

The Customs and Border Protection Agency on Dec. 23 reported 204,155 migrant encounters in the month of November and noted that those without the legal basis to stay in the U.S. had been expelled, while others are being processed.

Along with Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, Abbott has repeatedly sent migrants out of his state to Washington and to northeastern states in protest of the Biden administration's immigration policies. Since taking office, Biden has reversed some of the more restrictive immigration policies of former President Donald Trump. Biden has, for instance, ended the Trump-era policy that required asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border to wait in Mexico while their cases were being adjudicated.

The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress have offered proposals for immigration reform, but congressional Republicans have not reached a deal with them to pass such reform.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.