The Biden administration has condemned Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for transporting migrants from his state to the Washington, D.C. residence of Vice President Kamala Harris on Christmas Eve, when temperatures in the city were well below freezing.
Abbott’s administration had not coordinated with any organization or government entity before bussing the migrants, and had not developed any plan for housing them when they arrived.
Between 110 and 130 migrants arrived in D.C. on Saturday night, according to reporting from Reuters. Some of the migrants were children — and many of them were without proper winter gear or even warm clothing.
“Governor Abbott abandoned children on the side of the road in below freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordinating with any Federal or local authorities,” a White House spokesperson said in a statement. “This was a cruel, dangerous, and shameful stunt.”
Over the past year, Texas has bussed thousands of migrants to cities traditionally viewed as liberal or progressive in what many have said are cruel attempts to use migrants as political pawns in the debate on immigration. These migrants have typically been met with care and hospitality by residents of these cities; on Saturday, volunteers in D.C. took the migrants to a church and a synagogue that provided temporary housing upon their arrival.
In response to the Biden administration’s statement, Abbott’s office accused the White House of being hypocritical.
“The White House is full of a bunch of hypocrites, led by the Hypocrite-in-Chief …. Instead of their hypocritical complaints about Texas…President Biden and Border Czar Harris need to step up and do their jobs to secure the border — something they continue failing to do,” read a statement from Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze.
Just a few days before Christmas Eve, Al Otro Lado, a binational immigrant rights organization, described Abbott’s leadership as being disastrous to migrants.
“Gov Abbott is a shameless bigot hellbent on terrorizing migrants,” the organization wrote on Twitter in response to a news article about Abbott using armed National Guard troops to intimidate migrants as they entered the country. “Treating a humanitarian issue as a law enforcement issue will👏🏽never👏🏽work👏🏽. No problem that required a compassionate + practical solution has ever been solved with guns + razor wire.”
Abbott’s action on Christmas Eve was similarly condemned by immigration rights activists.
“Greg Abbott is a monster. Period,” wrote Erika Andiola, communications director for The Young Center, an immigration rights organization that focuses on children.