Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday announced that the state has now sent over 100,000 migrants to “sanctuary” cities across the United States, over a year and a half since he started the program to relieve what he says are overwhelmed border states.
“Texas has transported over 100,000 migrants to sanctuary cities to relieve overwhelmed border towns,” Abbott said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Until Biden reverses course on his open border policies, Texas will continue transporting migrants to these cities,” he said. “We will not back down on our efforts to secure the border.”
Abbott began busing migrants to Washington D.C. in April 2022, and has since expanded to cities including New York City, Denver, Philadelphia and Chicago. Additionally, the state has sent flights to some cities.
The practice has proven to be enormously controversial with those liberal cities, and with the Biden administration, who have accused Texas of deliberately causing disruption with a political stunt.
Both Chicago and New York City have put restrictions on charter buses coming to their cities and last week NYC Mayor Eric Adams announced a $700 million lawsuit against bus and transportation companies involved in migrant transport.
“New York City has and will always do our part to manage this humanitarian crisis, but we cannot bear the costs of reckless political ploys from the state of Texas alone,” Adams said in a statement.
The lawsuit argues that the companies have violated New York state law by not paying for the cost of caring for migrants, and seeks $708 million in damages that it has already spent on caring for them. It cites New York law that requires anyone who brings a “needy person” from out of state for the purposes of making them a public charge to either take them out of the state or support them.
Abbott has repeatedly dismissed the criticism he has heard from Adams and other Democratic mayors, arguing that the numbers they are seeing at the border in Texas are significantly larger than the numbers being sent to those liberal cities.
He has also called the lawsuit against the bus companies “baseless.”
“Every migrant bused or flown to New York City did so voluntarily, after having been authorized by the Biden Administration to remain in the United States,” he said. “As such, they have constitutional authority to travel across the country that Mayor Adams is interfering with. If the Mayor persists in this lawsuit, he may be held legally accountable for his violations.”
There were more than 2.4 million migrant encounters in FY 23, and officials have told lawmakers last month that they are releasing an average of 5,000 a day into the U.S.
Meanwhile, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Border Patrol agents this week that “above 85%” of migrants currently being encountered are being released into the U.S. interior.