Mayor Bowser: Migrants ‘Tricked’ into Crossing D.C. Border
Over 3,500 Central and South American migrants have arrived at the footsteps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. since April. This spring saw record highs in Southern border crossings, with the Biden administration poised to lift Trump-era Title 42. Had it not been for a Louisiana federal judge blocking the attempt in May, this executive action would have reopened the U.S.-Mexico border to undocumented immigrants after a temporary ban due to COVID-19.
In a response to this, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas (R) commissioned charter buses to provide free transportation for migrants who volunteered to travel from overwhelmed Texas border towns to Washington, D.C. To date, over 100 buses with capacity of up to 40 passengers each have arrived, bringing undocumented men, women, and children straight to the streets adjacent to the Capitol, where many politicians were advocating for open borders.
The result has been crowded homeless shelters and an overwhelmed aid system. Last week, The Washington Post highlighted the D.C. shelters and services that are understaffed due to COVID and unable to accommodate the influx of migrants. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) responded to the crisis on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” commenting that people were “being tricked” into taking a free bus ride to the nation’s capital.
“Well, this is a very significant issue. We have for sure called on the federal government to work across state lines to prevent people from really being tricked into getting on buses,” Bowser told CBS in an interview. “We think they’re largely asylum seekers that are going to final destinations that are not Washington, D.C. I worked with the White House to make sure that FEMA provided a grant to a local organization that is providing services to folks. But, I fear that they’re being tricked into nationwide bus trips when their final destinations are places all over the United States of America.”
With upwards of $5 million being put forward by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the buses continue to arrive at Union Station. Many migrants have been making their way to various states such as New York and Florida, while others have looked for job opportunities in D.C.
When asked who was paying for the aid for the newly arrived migrants, Bowser responded, “Well, local taxpayers are not picking up the tab — and should not pick up the tab. We really need a coordinated federal response. We know that it’s done for refugees who come to the states from all points of the world, and the same has to be done in this situation.”
Some on the Left, such as Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and The Washington Post, have criticized Governor Abbott’s bus fleet as a “cruel political stunt.” However, others believe there is hypocrisy at play when it comes to the Left’s philosophy on immigration and have been quick to call out a double standard in Bowser’s remarks.
Lora Ries, the Heritage Foundation’s Director of the Border Security and Immigration Center, told The Washington Stand, “Now Mayor Bowser knows how Texas feels. When localities and political leaders experience the downstream effects of mass illegal immigration, they realize open border policies are bad policies. Because of the Biden administration’s policies, every town is a border town. Americans don’t want this and don’t deserve this.”
Recently back from a trip to the southern border, Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) retweeted Bowser’s press release where she refers to D.C. as a “sanctuary city” for immigrants. He wrote, “@MayorBowser no one was ‘tricked’ into coming to D.C. — you invited them.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) agrees. In a comment to TWS, he responded, “Mayor Bowser should direct her frustration to her friends in the Biden administration for their complete and utter refusal to secure our border and enforce our immigration laws. The illegal immigrants who are coming to Washington, D.C. are doing so voluntarily — largely because of Muriel Bowser’s own previous actions affirming Washington, D.C. as a ‘sanctuary city.’”
“As they’ve done with inflation and a whole host of other issues, Democrat elected officials in Washington — city and federal — refuse to acknowledge the consequences of their radical policies,” Paxton emphasized.
Marjorie Jackson is a reporter for The Washington Stand and FRC's Digital Media Specialist.