Washington’s mayor is criticizing two border states for busing illegal immigrants to the nation’s capital, which bills itself as a sanctuary city.
For months, Texas and Arizona authorities have been offering free rides to illegal aliens who have claimed asylum, citing a lack of resources in dealing with the immigrants and the hope that sending them to Washington will help convince President Joe Biden to increase immigration enforcement amid a record number of arrests at the border.
But Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who is a Democrat, isn’t on board.
“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. We think they’re largely asylum-seekers who are going to final destinations that are not Washington, D.C.,” she said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on July 17.
“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.”
Ranae Eze, press secretary for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, told The Epoch Times via email that “the only lie is the Biden Administration telling the American people that our border is closed.”
“With our nation’s capital now experiencing a fraction of the disaster created by President Biden’s reckless open border policies that our state faces every single day, maybe he’ll finally do his job and secure the border,” she wrote.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, another Republican, wrote on Twitter: “Welcome to our world, @MayorBowser. Now work with your party, your Congress, and your President to do something about it.”
Thousands of illegal aliens have been sent to Washington from the two states this year, beginning in April. Getting on the buses is a choice, according to officials in the states. But some of the immigrants complained to WUSA-TV that promises made by officials before getting on the buses weren’t fulfilled.
Ana Karina Arce Polano, an illegal immigrant from Venezuela, told the broadcaster that she was told her family would be transported to Colorado via Washington, but that they didn’t end up being offered transportation to Colorado.
“We arrived here with faith to give them a better life, and it turns out that we do not even have a place to sleep and no way to get where we want to go,” Polano said.
Another illegal alien said she was told that her family would be given a ride to Chicago after arriving in Washington, but that hasn’t happened.
“If anyone is being misled, we certainly want to know about it,” Ducey spokesman CJ Karamargin told WUSA-TV.
Sister Sharlet Wagner, executive director of the Catholic Charities-run Newcomer Network, told NTD previously that most of the illegal immigrants were traveling to places beyond Washington.
“Most of them do have family or friends in the place where they really want to go. We’re happy to help them if they want to stay here. Most are choosing to move on,” she said.
Federal authorities have said that states aren’t “adequately coordinating” with them or local authorities. They also said that most immigrants who aren’t expelled via Title 42, a pandemic-era order, are released into the U.S. interior with notices to appear in court.
A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman told The Epoch Times, “Through its Southwest Border Coordination Center, DHS is executing carefully designed plans to manage the processing and transport of noncitizens arriving at the border.”