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L.A. mayor slams Abbott for 'despicable stunt' after Texas sends more migrants to California

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Eric Gay
/
AP
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott continued to antagonize Democrats this week when he bused dozens of migrants from Texas to Los Angeles, the latest in a series of trips that has taken thousands of migrants from Texas to Democratic-led cities.

In a statement Wednesday Abbott said the migrants were dropped off at Los Angeles’ Union Station as part of his effort to ease the burden on Texas border towns he says are “overwhelmed” and “overrun.”

“Los Angeles is a major city that migrants seek to go to, particularly now that its city leaders approved its self-declared sanctuary city status,” Abbott said in a statement. “Our border communities are on the frontlines of President Biden's border crisis, and Texas will continue providing this much-needed relief until he steps up to do his job and secure the border."


Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass immediately called out Abbott for his “abhorrent” tactics.

“Shortly after I took office, I directed City Departments to begin planning in the event Los Angeles was on the receiving end of a despicable stunt that Republican Governors have grown so fond of,” said Bass, a former Democratic member of the U.S. Congress, in a statement.

“This did not catch us off guard, nor will it intimidate us. Now, it’s time to execute our plan. Our emergency management, police, fire and other departments were able to find out about the incoming arrival while the bus was on its way and were already mobilized along with nonprofit partners before the bus arrived,” Bass added.

Abbott said that as of this week, more than 21,000 migrants have been bused from Texas to so-called “sanctuary cities” — a general term for jurisdictions whose local police don’t enforce federal immigration laws. Abbott began the policy last year and so far migrants arriving in Texas have been sent to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and Washington, D.C. At least two buses have delivered migrants to the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris.

The migrant transport is part of Abbott’s multi-tiered effort on immigration enforcement as he and his GOP allies decry what they call President Biden’s “open-border” policies. Abbott also launched Operation Lone Star in 2021. The state-led effort has deployed thousands of Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety officers to the border. Earlier this year, the Republican-led Texas Legislature appropriated more than $5 billion for border security.

Abbott’s latest move also comes as the number of encounters between U.S. Border Patrol and undocumented immigrants has plummeted since the middle of May, when the pandemic-era health policy known as Title 42 ended. The policy allowed federal agents to immediately expel migrants back to Mexico before applying for asylum. In the weeks before the policy expired, Border Patrol agents were encountering nearly 10,000 migrants a day. Since the policy expired however, the daily average has fallen to about 3,000, according to statistics obtained by the American Immigration Council, a Washington-based think tank.

The controversy also continues a war of words between Texas and California officials. Last year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ran full-page advertisements in three of Texas’ daily newspapers slamming Abbott and the Texas Legislature for passing an extreme anti-abortion bill that went into effect in 2021.
Got a tip? Email Julián Aguilar at jaguilar@kera.org.You can follow Julián on Twitter @nachoaguilar.
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Julián Aguilar