Multiple busloads of migrants were dropped off at Vice President Harris’s residence in Washington, D.C. on Saturday — Christmas Eve — leaving migrants on the streets in below-freezing temperatures, according to multiple reports.
Three busloads of migrants were driven to D.C., ABC 7 reported, and arrived outside the Naval Observatory, which is the vice president’s residence. The migrants were later taken to a church by the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, a local aid group.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) was responsible for Saturday’s incident, according to ABC 7 and Fox News, marking the latest episode in a months-long effort by the governor to send migrants to Democratic-run cities as a way to encourage the Biden administration to take steps to control immigration in the U.S.
In September, Abbott sent two buses full of migrants to Harris’s residence in D.C., sparking criticism among Democrats. Other Republican governors, including Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Arizona’s Doug Ducey, have transported migrants to Democratic-run cities across the country in recent months.
“Tonight, on Christmas Eve, Gov Abbott’s buses dropped off migrants at the VP’s house in the freezing cold,” the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network wrote on Twitter early Sunday. “This is not new, it has been happening for 8 months.”
The White House slammed the move on Sunday, calling it a “shameful stunt.”
“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,” White House deputy press secretary Abdullah Hasan said in a statement.
“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,” Hasan added.
Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze told The Hill in a statement on Monday that the migrants ““willingly chose to go to Washington, D.C., having signed a voluntary consent waiver available in multiple languages upon boarding that they agreed on the destination.”
“And they were processed and released by the federal government, who are dumping them at historic levels in Texas border towns like El Paso, which recently declared a state of emergency because of the Biden-made crisis,” she said.
“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,” she added, arguing “the White House is full of a bunch of hypocrites.”
Abbott penned a letter to President Biden last Tuesday demanding that the administration send federal assets to address the situation at the border, especially as temperatures drop and a winter storm approached Texas.
“You and your administration must stop the lie that the border is secure and, instead, immediately deploy federal assets to address the dire problems you have caused,” Abbott wrote. “You must execute the duties that the U.S. Constitution mandates you perform and secure the southern border before more innocent lives are lost.”
In a statement Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it “continues to fully enforce our immigration and public health laws at the border.”
“Individuals and families attempting to enter without authorization are being expelled, as required by court order under the Title 42 public health authority, or placed into removal proceedings. As temperatures remain dangerously low all along the border, no one should put their lives in the hands of smugglers, or risk life and limb attempting to cross only to be returned,” DHS added.
The agency said 23,000 agents and officers are “working to secure the Southwest border and the United States Government continues to work closely with our partners in Mexico to reinforce coordinated enforcement operations to target human smuggling organizations and bring them to justice.”
The Supreme Court last Monday temporarily stopped the expiration of Title 42, the Trump-era policy that allows border officials to turn away asylum seekers because of public health concerns. If it does eventually expire, Abbott said the number of individuals entering Texas illegally “will only increase.”
Updated: Dec. 26 at 5:36 p.m.