White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused governors of border states of using migrants as a “political tool” by bussing them to liberal cities at Tuesday’s briefing.
ABC White House correspondent Karen Travers asked about requests for resources potentially provided by the federal government to help local governments, namely New York City and Washington D.C., mitigate the impact of the increase in migrants and asylum seekers being shipped to their cities. Jean-Pierre said the White House has been in continuous communication with the offices of Democratic Mayors Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. and Eric Adams of New York City.
Travers then asked if the White House has reached out to governors to ask them not to bus migrants to these cities.
“We’ve been in constant communication and contact with governors just across the country. I don’t have anything specific to migrants being shipped to other states,” she said. “This has come up before, and we believe it’s shameful that some governors are using migrants as a political tool, as a political play, when we should be making sure that we’re doing everything that we can to help folks who are coming into this process in a legal way and making sure that we do this in a safe way and respectful way. And I think it is shameful that that is happening.”
Migrants were bussed to D.C. under the orders of Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona to push President Joe Biden’s administration to “more immediately address the needs” of the migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The first bus sent by Texas dropped off 24 migrants in near the Fox News bureau April 13, then 14 more were dropped off the following day. A third bus reportedly dropped off 30 migrants. (RELATED: Abbott’s Migrant Buses To DC Are Dropping Migrants Off In States Along The Way, NGO Head Says)
A group of migrants shipped to the nation’s capital said in May that they planned to head to New York, Florida, Kentucky and Maine. They were assisted by faith-based charities, notably Catholic Charities USA, who helped them make arrangements for their travel destinations. As of May, Texas said it had bused a total of 922 migrants to the nation’s capital.
Abbott’s plan came in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially planning to reverse Title 42, a Trump-era COVID-19 protocol allowing for the expulsion of 1.7 million migrants. The Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection planned for a massive surge of migrants following the policy’s reversal.
Homeless shelters in Washington, D.C., have reportedly grown overwhelmed by the number of migrants being bussed to the city. Bowser expressed fears that the migrants will be “tricked” into being shipped to the city.
Migrant encounter numbers at the southern border have nearly doubled since President Joe Biden assumed office in January 2021. U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 207,416 migrants in June, up from the 189,034 apprehended in the same month in 2021.