McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the state has been “overwhelmed” with people from across the country wanting to help bus migrants to Washington, D.C, and that is why they launched an online website to accept donations.
“As soon as the announcement was made we were overwhelmed with phone calls, with letters, with requests about people providing buses, people driving buses, people paying for buses and we got to thinking if people all across the country are so eager to participate in this then we should put a website link up and let them participate and as soon as we did that the donations have come in,” Abbott said Wednesday during a visit to McAllen where he received an award for helping with broadband connectivity to students in the Rio Grande Valley.
On Wednesday he said he got the idea after speaking with local officials in Uvalde, Texas, who said they were busing migrants to San Antonio at the community’s cost, rather than having the migrants mull around town.
“I said y’all shouldn’t have to take on that responsibility, the State of Texas will do that and instead of busing people to San Antonio we’ll bus them to Washington, D.C., and in doing so we assumed a cost that would occur,” Abbott said.
Donations for the transportation of migrants are being accepted on the governor’s official website.
The governor said he does not yet know how much money has been received but he said donations have come pouring in. And he speculated “it will likely mean there will be no cost to the State of Texas for providing these buses.”
During an April 6 stop in Weslaco, Texas, Abbott surprised many by announcing that migrants who are released by the Department of Homeland Security after unlawfully entering the Texas border would be shipped to the nation’s capital on buses.
He later amended that to say the buses would carry only migrants who voluntarily boarded for trips to Washington, D.C.
So far at least 10 buses with migrants have arrived in Washington, D.C. The migrants have been from the countries of Angola, Brazil, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, according to a news release on Friday.
Abbott, a Republican, has been widely criticized by Democrats, including the White House, for what they are calling a “publicity stunt” by shipping the migrants halfway across the country.
Abbott has repeatedly said Texas is securing the border because the federal government is failing to do so. That is why Texas is spending billions of dollars on border security and he has surged 10,000 National Guard troops to the border as part of Operation Lone Star in conjunction with state troopers.
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“It’s regrettable that the state even needs to incur the expenditure of money at all to secure the border. As we all know, securing the border is the responsibility of the federal government as assigned by the United States Constitution. The Biden administration has completely abdicated its responsibility to secure the border,” Abbott said Wednesday.
On Friday he renewed a disaster proclamation for 53 Texas counties, including Uvalde County, relating to the increase of migrants crossing the border from Mexico.