Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott concocted a dastardly plan to make President Biden pay for his lax immigration policies: send busloads of migrants detained in Texas to Washington D.C.
There are several problems with this, of course. One of them is that Biden hasn’t exactly welcomed migrants into America the way Republicans want people to think he has. Another is that Abbott’s prank seems to have turned into a pleasant convenience for many migrants seeking to reconnect with family members in the U.S.
According to The New York Times, migrants bussed to the nation’s capital on Texas’ dime aren’t causing chaos once they get there. Instead, they’re being met by friendly volunteers who help them to their final destinations as they await immigration court proceedings.
“In a way, it’s actually perfect,” Bilal Askaryar, a spokesman for the migrant-aid collective Welcome With Dignity, told the Times. “Unintentionally, Governor Abbott sent them to one of the best places in the nation to welcome people.”
The Times notes that the Biden administration’s plan to alleviate an influx in border crossings is to work with state and local governments as well as nonprofits to provide support for migrants and refugees who make their way into the U.S. But other activists in D.C. told the Times that they won’t be able to fully help every migrant if the numbers increase drastically. That means Abbott could probably cause the chaos and misery that he wants by massively increasing the amount of migrants he sends out to D.C. — but again, at cost to the state of Texas. How much is a stunt like this worth to him?
The Biden administration knows, on the other hand, that at a certain point their current migrant policy — and its level of funding — will become insufficient. And when that happens, it’s clear that budget lines will win out over migrant’s lives. The administration has been fighting for months in court to keep Title 42, a Trump-era policy of questionable legality that allowed the government to quickly expel migrants under the guise of public health. Biden promised on the campaign trail to end this policy, and the Centers for Disease Control has said there’s no longer any public health justification for it.
But the Biden administration is clinging to the policy as desperately as possible, knowing that once it ends they will face an actual burden of care for thousands more migrants seeking refuge in this country. And to adequately deal with the issue and do right by the people it involves, they’ll need a lot more than a handful of activists at D.C. bus stops. Thus far, there’s no indication Biden is capable of that kind of action.