What Texas’ Bussing of Migrants to Washington, D.C. Reveals
If you’ve been watching press headlines lately, you may have noticed that Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to bus migrants released from federal custody in Texas to Washington, D.C. and other parts of the country. At least ten busloads of migrants have been transported by Gov. Abbott’s administration to Washington, D.C., and it appears that number is set to increase. According to Gov. Abbott’s directive, the plan was created because “Texans cannot continue to shoulder the burdens imposed by open-border advocates in other parts of the country.” An April 6, 2022 press release announcing the plan stated the following:
Because DHS has no plan for addressing the anticipated surge of illegal immigrants when Title 42 expulsions end, and because DHS is expected to release large groups of migrants into Texas communities, Governor Abbott has directed TDEM to charter buses and flights to transport migrants who have been processed and released from federal custody to Washington, D.C. To board a bus or flight, a migrant must volunteer to be transported and show documentation from DHS.
Gov. Abbott’s plan was intended to highlight the struggles of overwhelmed border towns but it has had a very different effect. Instead, it highlighted the lack of post-processing support given to migrants by the federal government and their need for transportation. Although Gov. Abbott’s plan was panned by critics, the migrants themselves have been nothing but grateful for the free ride and meals.
As reported in the Texas Tribune, Ordalis Heras, a 26-year-old Venezuelan asylum-seeker, after touching down in Nation’s Capital on a Texas borne bus, stated, “We are very thankful for all the help that has been given to us. Frankly, we did not have the money to get here otherwise, so we are very thankful for the help.” This is not an isolated instance.
In an article published in the New York Times, Chadrack Mboyo-Bola, 26, was quoted as saying, “I would like to say thank you to the governor of Texas,” after he and 13 other migrants stepped off one of the chartered buses that had provided a 33-hour ride paid for by the State of Texas. Blocks from the U.S. Capitol, they were greeted by volunteers who would help them reach their desired destinations around the country to await their day in immigration court.
Multiple thanks-filled migrants were also quoted in an article published in Business Insider titled, “Migrants are thanking Gov. Abbott for the free charter bus ride after he shipped them from Texas to Washington DC.”
What does this unexpected reaction reveal? Not all states are created equal. Migrants are better off where they are wanted, welcomed, and given the opportunity to live with dignity. That place is not Texas. Nor is it Arizona. So when no-cost transportation is offered, asylum seekers, who are forced to wait 3-4 years in the U.S. while their case makes its way through a backlogged immigration court system, take the ride to immigrant friendly jurisdictions.
Once this revelation surfaced, however, Texans became angered that their tax dollars were going to help migrants. As reported in the Texas Tribune, this forced Gov. Abbott to shift strategies for funding. Texas is now crowd-funding and seeking private donations to keep the bussing campaign alive. It appears that the old adage rings true, no good deed goes unpunished. Luckily, nonprofit organizations are here to help.
What AyúDame NONProfit Does To Help
Ayúdame Nonprofit led the charge on this, raising the issue of needed transportation to immigrant friendly jurisdictions over a year ago. Migrants who are properly counseled and given access to Ayúdame Nonprofit’s Resource Referral Network and Destination Counseling services have their lives transformed, and in turn they transform the communities they live in for the better. Migrants in Texas are subject to ICE reporting, deportation, random identification-checks and stops, and are given no state aid. In stark contrast, migrants in California are given sanctuary, the opportunity to obtain a driver’s license, eligibility for state-based aid, and more. In New York, undocumented workers are even eligible for unemployment related funds. Waiting for an asylum hearing in California versus Texas means a completely different life for a migrant. Ayúdame Nonprofit employs active engagement to counsel migrants on the differences between jurisdictions, and helps migrants reach immigrant-friendly jurisdictions, such as California, Washington, New Mexico, and New York. It is in these jurisdictions that asylum-seekers can truly live with dignity and be given the tools they need to give back to the communities that host them.
Unfortunately, government funding is hard to come by and this great work is left to the hands of private benefactors. Gov. Abbott learned the hard way that many taxpayers simply do not want to fund projects that help migrants. Ayúdame Nonprofit and other NGOs who do this important work need help from private funders. Therefore, we ask you to join us in our mission and transform lives. Be a vehicle for change.