Busing illegal migrants to DC: Bringing the border to Biden — or abetting human trafficking?

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott faces mounting criticism from conservatives over his policy response to illegal immigration.

Updated: April 23, 2022 - 11:10pm

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With the 10th bus of illegal immigrants having arrived in Washington, D.C., from Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is receiving growing criticism from conservatives who argue he's facilitating illegal immigration rather than stopping it.

The ninth and 10th buses arrived at the nation's capital on Thursday night. They were part of the governor's "busing strategy ... in response to President [Joe] Biden's ongoing failure to secure the border," his office announced.

Abbott said when he announced the busing strategy last week that "the Biden administration and a lot of leaders in Congress have no idea about the chaos they have caused by their open border policies. ... If they're not going to come to the border, I'm going to take the border to them and Washington, D.C."

He also maintains that Texas shouldn't have to spend its taxpayer dollars on border security but must do so after crime and drugs have escalated stemming from the surge in illegal immigration since Biden took office. The state legislature allocated $3 billion of taxpayer money to fund border security efforts, and Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021 to thwart criminal activity coming from the border.

But aspects of his approach, including the busing strategy, have received criticism from conservatives who argue they aren't securing the border. While Abbott claims he's bringing the border to the White House and Congress to see "the chaos they have caused," doing so hasn't resulted in any policy changes.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters several hours after the first bus arrived last week, "It's nice the state of Texas is helping them get to their final destination as they await the outcome of their immigration proceedings."

Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.), former chair of the Republican Party of Texas who challenged Abbott in the Republican primary, questions how Abbott's busing strategy is different from Biden's strategy of flying and busing illegal immigrants throughout the country.

"Can someone articulate to me the difference between that and the Biden administration's use of taxpayer funds to fly and bus illegals all over the country?" West asked. "It appears that Biden and Abbott are both using taxpayer resources to aid and abet human trafficking.

"The real 'winners' here are the transnational narco-criminal terrorist organizations called the cartels. Funny, Texas put wristbands on these illegals just like the cartels ... and they are now freely released into the country. And, that's foolishly called 'being tough?'"

Cofounder of the Houston-based Remembrance Project, Maria Espinoza told The Center Square: "Governor Abbott's job is to protect Texans, not to aid and abet illegal aliens by bringing them farther into the United States. He must get serious about protecting Texans and stop wasting taxpayers' hard-earned money on these gimmicks. He has the authority to repel the invasion. However, it seems he does not want the responsibility."

Texas Scorecard publisher Michael Quinn Sullivan retweeted a video of a purported angry mob that attacked the Mexican National Guard, broke through its barrier in Tapachula, Mexico, and proceeded to head north to the U.S.

"These are the invaders Greg Abbott wants to welcome into Texas by offering free bus rides or plane tickets deeper into our country," Sullivan said. "Maybe we should just repel them, instead?"

Former Virginia Attorney General and acting Deputy Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli said: "It's amazing how many right-of-center outlets and commentators are falling for Gov. Abbott's gimmickry. Instead of busing illegals 2600 miles to D.C., bus them 2 miles to the Mexico border and put them back in Mexico."

In response to several border security agreements Abbott reached with Mexican governors, Cuccinelli said he doesn't expect to see border apprehensions go down in April. Abbott's efforts will result in "no change at all," he said. "Why? Until Texas returns illegals back across the border, the numbers will not go down."

The illegal immigration crisis in Texas "worsens every day, and giving voluntary trips to Washington, D.C., on the taxpayers' dime will not solve it," said JoAnn Fleming, of Grassroots America-We The People, one of the largest and most powerful conservative organizations in Texas. "Governors have the constitutional authority and a duty to protect their states from invasion. Texas communities are overrun with illegals, which puts mounting pressure on health care, law enforcement and schools."

Fleming points to a landmark legal opinion issued by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, which states that the federal government has failed to uphold its constitutional duty to protect Arizona from an invasion perpetrated by a transnational criminal organization and under the U.S. Constitution Arizona has the right to defend itself. "Why is Texas not leading a Constitutional challenge by the States?" Fleming asks.

For over a year, conservatives in Texas have called on Abbott to take significantly stronger border security measures, including several constitutional actions proposed by state Sen. Bob Hall and others. Abbott's office hasn't responded to questions on whether he's considering them or why he hasn't acted on them already. His office did not return requests for comment.