by Bethany Blankley
A bus of foreign nationals who illegally entered Texas and were apprehended and released by the Biden administration were taken to Los Angeles for the first time, Gov. Greg Abbott said. They were dropped off at the Los Angeles Union Station Wednesday evening.
“Texas’ small border towns remain overwhelmed and overrun by the thousands of people illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico because of President Biden’s refusal to secure the border,” Abbott said. “Los Angeles is a major city that migrants seek to go to, particularly now that its city leaders approved its self-declared sanctuary city status. Our border communities are on the frontlines of President Biden’s border crisis, and Texas will continue providing this much-needed relief until he steps up to do his job and secure the border.”
Abbott began Texas’ busing strategy in April of last year. Managed by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the state has chartered buses to transport more than 21,600 people to now six Democratic-run self-described sanctuary cities. Transportation is free to them and voluntary. All adults and guardians of minors must sign waivers to choose to receive the transportation.
The first destination city was Washington, D.C., followed by New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia last year. This year, Denver and Los Angeles were added as destination cities.
After Texas has sent buses to the Democratic-run cities, the mayors have declared emergencies and also described the busing strategy as a political stunt.
CBS News Los Angeles reported “the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles took the migrants to St. Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Church in Chinatown.”
Mayor Karen Bass denounced the move, saying it was “abhorrent that an American elected official is using human beings as pawns in his cheap political games,” referring to Abbott.
Bass’ comments about the 40 people bused to Los Angeles from Texas comes after more than 4,800 people were apprehended in the El Centro Sector and nearly 24,000 were apprehended in the San Diego Sector of California last month by Border Patrol agents, according to preliminary data provided to The Center Square by a Border Patrol agent on condition of anonymity.
California Border Patrol agents reported over 300,000 foreign nationals were apprehended or evaded capture after illegally entering the U.S. in California alone in fiscal 2022, The Center Square previously reported.
Unlike Texas, California doesn’t have a border security mission like Operation Lone Star, through which multiple agencies are working together to thwart cartel-related criminal activity.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas National Guard are working to thwart cartel smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people into Texas and to prevent, detect and interdict transnational criminal behavior between ports of entry.
Since Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in March 2021, state and local law enforcement officers have apprehended more than 381,000 illegal foreign nationals and made more than 29,000 criminal arrests, with over 26,000 felony charges reported. They’ve also seized more than 418 million lethal doses of fentanyl, enough to kill more than everyone in the United States. These numbers don’t include federal Border Patrol apprehensions and criminal arrests.
Operation Lone Star is doing the job the federal government should be doing, Abbott has argued. Texas is filling “the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border,” he argues. “Every individual who is apprehended or arrested and every ounce of drugs seized would have otherwise made their way into communities across Texas and the nation due to President Joe Biden’s open border policies.”
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Bethany Blankley is a regular contributor to The Center Square.