The Biden Administration is working on plans to bus immigrants away from the overwhelmed border communities in Texas and dump them in cities and towns hours away from the border, two elected officials in Texas tell The Post.
San Angelo, Texas, some three hours from the US-Mexico border, was scouted as a location to bus immigrants, US Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX) told The Post.
“San Angelo is a welcoming community, but the locality has not volunteered for this mission, nor are they responsible for the burdens of the border crisis,” said Pfluger. “This situation is a direct result of DHS’ shortsighted policies that encourage more illegal immigration and the agency’s failure to establish operational control of the southern border.”
Pfluger, who represents San Angelo in Congress, was alerted to this possibility by San Angelo law enforcement who were alarmed about their ability to absorb any amount of immigrants. San Angelo has a population of just over 100,000 and only has three daily flights out of town and limited bus service.
In a letter to DHS, Pfluger demanded to know what plans DHS had to drop off immigrants in San Angelo or other Texas cities, if chosen communities would receive any kind of notice that immigrants were heading their way and whether DHS would provide local leaders background checks on the immigrants released into their communities.
While he hasn’t received specifics from DHS, Pfluger was contact by officials from Customs and Border Protection and told San Angelo was merely being considering as a possible location, but no plans were set at this time.
“You can only assume that they’re looking at other locations or that plans can change in the future,” Pfluger told The Post.
Currently, immigrants who cross the border illegally and are seeking asylum are released after being processed by the Border Patrol and ICE. They are usually dropped off at bus stations in border communities like Del Rio, Texas, where a Stripes gas stations doubles as the bus depot. The immigrants are usually headed to cities in the interior of the United States and do not plan on staying in border communities. While they wait to get a bus ticket or airfare to their final destination, they usually remain in small border towns, sometimes without a place to sleep.
“Yes, it will relieve some of the pressure off of the border communities, but then it’s going to create a problem in other communities,” said Robert Beau Nettleton, a county commissioner in Val Verde County, Texas. The county has been identified by Texas officials as being one of three hot spot counties for border crossings.
“We’re not solving problems. We’re just moving people around to different locations to make it look like there’s not as many people on the border as we normally see,” the commissioner told The Post. “It’s a political ploy to say, ‘Look, these communities no longer have this problem because we solved it.’ You solved it for that community, but you didn’t solve the problem. You just moved the problem.”
An internal DHS document obtained by NBC News shows DHS’s plan to bus immigrants to Los Angeles, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Houston, Dallas, and other cities. However, San Angelo, Texas is the first small town, without the resources to deal with immigrants, that has been named as a possible location.
“They’re not set up to handle it. They don’t have the resources to handle it, they don’t have the NGOs to handle it,” Nettleton said and added he predicts many immigrants will end up on the streets for a time after they’re released.
It’s not the first time politicians have turned to bussing immigrants away from the border. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has used state funds and donations to send 65 busloads carrying more than 2,000 people to Washington, D.C. since April.
Now new American cities and communities away from the border will have to share in the burden border communities have shouldered, he said.
“You’ve been saying it for a long time, that it is coming to a community near you,” said Nettleton. “There’s still a lot of people in these bigger cities around the United States that don’t really think that there’s a ‘border issue’ because they’re not dealing with it, but when they start dumping thousands of them in their backyard, then maybe they will understand that there is a problem.”