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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bragged Monday about busing more than 16,000 migrants from the Lone Star State to so-called “sanctuary cities,” following a year of controversial relocations of migrants coming across the southern US border.

“Texas has bused more than 16,300 migrants to sanctuary cities,” Abbott tweeted, adding the move was meant to relieve Texas cities overwhelmed by what he called “President Biden’s open border policies.”

“Over 9,100 to DC. Over 4,900 to NYC. Over 1,500 to Chicago. Over 840 to Philadelphia,” the governor boasted.

Three busloads of shivering people were most recently dropped at the doorstep of Vice President Kamala Harris on Dec. 24 — the coldest Christmas Eve on record — in the nation’s capital. Many were dressed in T-shirts in the 18-degree weather, according to local reports.

Abbott began his vehicular vendetta in April, busing migrants from Texas border communities to cities like DC and New York , as a way of highlighting the migrant crisis to both politicians and citizens in Democrat-run cities away from the border.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that about 16,300 migrants have been relocated to "sanctuary cities."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that about 16,300 migrants have been relocated to “sanctuary cities.”
Jay Janner /Austin American-Statesman via AP

The governor has notoriously refused to notify mayoral offices or aid organizations in the destination cities. New York Mayor Eric Adams said he was blindsided when migrants started showing up in the Big Apple in August.

“For months, Texas has callously used asylum seekers as political pawns and this latest stunt is just another example of the cruel behavior coming from Governor Abbot and his administration,” Fabien Levy, an Adams spokesman, said in a statement last week.

Abbott did not specify in his tweet which federal policies he deemed “open border” policies.

A majority of the migrants were sent by bus to Washington, DC.
Abbott said a majority of the migrants were sent by bus to Washington, DC.

In an open letter ahead of last month’s winter storms, Abbott blamed the situation at the border squarely on the president.

“This terrible crisis for border communities in Texas is a catastrophe of your own making,” the letter said.

“These communities and the state are ill-equipped to do the job assigned to the federal government — house the thousands of migrants flooding into the country every day. With perilous temperatures moving into the area, many of these migrants are at risk of freezing to death on city streets,” Abbott continued. 

Migrants boarding a bus in El Paso, Texas on December 28, 2022.
Migrants board a bus in El Paso, Texas, on December 28, 2022.
James Keivom

“The need to address this crisis is not the job of border states like Texas. Instead, the U.S. Constitution dictates that it is your job, Mr. President, to defend the borders of our country, regulate our nation’s immigration, and manage those who seek refuge here.”

The political jousting comes amid a fight over Title 42, a pandemic restriction allowing the federal government to restrict entry into the US in order to curb the spread of disease.

The law was invoked by President Donald Trump at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and was used to block nearly all asylum claims. The Biden administration continued to enforce Title 42, but only against certain asylum seekers who could be expelled to Mexico.

Migrants from Texas arriving at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan on December 19, 2022.
Migrants from Texas arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan on December 19, 2022.

Migrants in Washington, DC near the home of Vice President Kamala Harris on December 24, 2022.
Migrants arrive in Washington, DC near the home of Vice President Kamala Harris on December 24, 2022.


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Migrants from the border arriving in Philadelphia on November 16, 2022.
Migrants from the border arrive in Philadelphia on November 16, 2022.

Migrants being transported to a refugee center in Chicago on August 31, 2022.
A bus transports migrants to a refugee center in Chicago on August 31, 2022.


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The Biden administration had tried to lift the restriction in May, but the effort was blocked in federal court.

A different federal judge ruled in November that Title 42 was meant to be a health restriction — not longstanding immigration policy — and ordered the Biden administration to lift the policy by December 21.

The Supreme Court weighed in last week, ordering that the pandemic restriction be kept in place for at least two months, pending arguments before the nation’s high court.

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