Governor Greg Abbott of Texas announced his government has bused 37,400 migrants to cities across the United States.
Abbott has offered immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border bus rides to sanctuary cities as part of Operation Lone Star, a cooperative initiative with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Launched in March of 2021, the operation aims to reduce human trafficking and drug smuggling at the southern border.
Texas began busing unlawful migrants to the nation’s capital on April 13, 2022 and New York City on Aug. 5, 2022. The governor has since expanded the list of sanctuary city destinations.
In a Sept. 13 post on X, Abbott wrote that Texas has bused more than 11,4000 migrants to Washington D.C., more than 14,000 migrants to New York City, over 7,400 to Chicago and over 2,800 to Philadelphia. Additionally, Abbott’s government has bused at least 1,300 migrants to Denver and roughly 530 to Los Angeles.
“Overwhelmed Texas border towns must have relief,” wrote the governor.
Texas has bused over 37,400 migrants to sanctuary cities.
Over 11,400 to DC
Over 14,000 to NYC
Over 7,400 to Chicago
Over 2,800 to Philadelphia
Over 1,300 to Denver
Over 530 to LA
Overwhelmed Texas border towns must have relief.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 13, 2023
“Because of [President Joe Biden]’s continued refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies, the State of Texas has had to take unprecedented action to keep our communities safe,” said Abbott in a statement following the arrival of the first bus of migrants to New York City.
Abbott has repeatedly pointed critics of Operation Lone Star to the Biden administration’s inaction at the southern border despite skyrocketing rates of illegal immigration.
“Your recent interest in this historic and preventable crisis is a welcome development—especially as the President and his Administration have shown no remorse for their actions nor desire to address the situation themselves,” the governor wrote in a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and New York City Mayor Eric Adams in August of 2022.
“As Governor, I invite you to visit our border region to see firsthand the dire situation that only grows more urgent with each passing day, and to meet with the local officials, who like yourselves, realize this matter deserves immediate federal action,” Abbott added. “I also ask you to join me in requesting President Biden secure the border and put an end to this disastrous crisis.”
In addition to the bussing program, Abbott has taken other steps to address the fallout from the border crisis.
The Republican governor declared Mexican drug cartels terrorist organizations in an executive order in September of 2022. Abbott cited the detrimental impact of human trafficking and drug smuggling, especially the influx of fentanyl, on Texas communities.
“Fentanyl is a clandestine killer, and Texans are falling victim to the Mexican cartels that are producing it,” said Abbott during an event in Midland, Texas. “Cartels are terrorists, and it’s time we treated them that way. In fact, more Americans died from fentanyl poisoning in the past year than all terrorist attacks across the globe in the past 100 years. In order to save our country, particularly our next generation, we must do more to get fentanyl off our streets.”
Texas is currently facing off in court with the U.S. Department of Justice over a floating buoy barrier that spans 1,000 feet of the Rio Grande. Texas says the barrier assists with its goal of reducing illegal immigration while also deterring migrants from swimming across the river and risking their own safety. The DOJ has counter-argued that the state needed federal approval and that the barrier is an impairment to the free and safe navigation of the river.
According to The Texas Tribune, the Texas Legislature approved roughly $2 billion to fund Operation Lone Star.