(The Center Square) – Texas has bused more than 50,000 people who’ve illegally entered the U.S. and were unlawfully released into the U.S., Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday.
The majority have been bused to New York City, followed by Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles.
Abbott began the busing strategy in April 2022. He first sent foreign nationals who illegally entered the U.S. in Texas to Washington, D.C. Since then, over 12,500 people chose to be transported to the nation’s capital.
Last year, he expanded the strategy to send people to New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. Since last August, Texas bused more than 18,500 people to New York City and over 13,500 people to Chicago. Since last November, Texas bused over 3,200 people to Philadelphia.
This year, he began busing people to Denver and Los Angeles. So far, more than 3,200 people have arrived in Denver since May 18 and over 940 to Los Angeles since June 14.
The governor recently directed additional buses to Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas, after a surge of people came roughly two weeks ago. He said he was sending them to self-declared sanctuary cities to provide much-needed relief to overrun Texas border towns.
“Until President [Joe] Biden upholds his constitutional duty to secure America’s southern border, Texas will continue to deploy as many buses as needed to relieve the strain caused by the surge of illegal crossings,” Abbott said.
Adults must sign a waiver for themselves and minors under their care, provide their Department of Homeland Security documentation, and choose which of the six self-described sanctuary cities they want to go to.
Texas border mayors and county judges have been instructed to notify the Texas Department of Emergency Management of any DHS-facilitated drop-off in their communities so the agency can help move people out of Texas.
The majority seeking Texas-taxpayer funded transportation north are choosing to go to the cities of New York and Chicago, according to state data. The same is true for those arriving in El Paso. Chicago and New York City remain the primary destinations, however, Denver has been added as a third destination.
The Democratic-led city of El Paso began its own busing strategy over a year ago but it’s funded through money it receives from FEMA. The city says the current wave of people began arriving in April 2022; “the sudden surge began in late August.” The overwhelming majority are coming from Venezuela, roughly 70%; the remainder are from Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba.
As of Friday, Oct. 6, the city of El Paso was releasing 1,534 border crossers into the community every day. Roughly 480 people are being bused to Chicago, New York City and Denver every day from El Paso.
Every day, five charter buses full of people are leaving El Paso and arriving in Chicago. New York City and Denver are each receiving three charter buses full of people a day, according to city data.