Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, on Wednesday told the 23 migrants who were bussed from Texas to DC not to come to his state
Florida’s governor has warned the 23 migrants who were transported from Texas to Washington DC not to travel to his state, telling them they should not expect a warm welcome from the Sunshine State.
The group crossed into the United States from Mexico illegally, and were the first to accept Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s offer of a free one-way ticket to DC. Abbott said it was a policy designed to show Joe Biden the scale of the problem, and ‘take the border to him’.
The first of the buses set off from Texas last weekend, and arrived in the nation’s capital on Wednesday morning.
But Ron DeSantis, the governor, told the migrants: ‘Do not come’ – an echo of what Vice President Kamala Harris said when she visited Guatemala last year.
His office told Fox News Digital in a statement: ‘To those who have entered the country illegally, fair warning: Do not come to Florida.
‘Life will not be easy for you, because we are obligated to uphold the immigration laws of this country, even if our federal government and other states won’t.
‘Florida is not a sanctuary state, and our social programs are designed to serve the citizens of our state. The governor will protect the sovereignty of the state of Florida.’
Some of the 23 migrants from Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are seen on Wednesday morning getting off a bus in Washington DC, having been sent there from Texas
They gathered in Union Station in Washington DC for processing after the long bus journey from Texas
A charity worker from Catholic Charities speaks to one of the migrants who arrived from Texas
Among the 23 migrants were women and children. Cordalis, who is from Venezuela, cleans her child with supplies provided by the Catholic Charities organization
The Republican DeSantis, considered a likely presidential contender in 2024, blamed the Biden administration for encouraging migrants to ‘make dangerous treks’ and put their lives in the hands of human smugglers.
‘If you have come here illegally, you have been done a great disservice by the Biden Administration,’ the statement continued.
‘They have encouraged you to make dangerous treks, oftentimes at great physical distress to you and your family. Sometimes, this has even meant putting your fate into the hands of dangerous coyotes and human traffickers.
‘There is a legal process to obtain full American citizenship, which is an essential part of the promise of America.
‘In Florida, we will uphold the law.’
The 23 migrants in DC – 19 men and four women, including three small children – were all free to leave once getting off the bus.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said they had been processed in Texas and were awaiting the results of their immigration procedures.
Abbott said on Wednesday that more buses of migrants would be arriving from his state in DC.
‘As the federal government continues to turn a blind eye to the border crisis, the state of Texas will remain steadfast in our efforts to fill in the gaps and keep Texans safe,’ he said.
‘By busing migrants to Washington, D.C., the Biden Administration will be able to more immediately meet the needs of the people they are allowing to cross our border.
‘Texas should not have to bear the burden of the Biden Administration’s failure to secure our border.’
On Friday, Abbott said that his team had received multiple calls from communities in the Rio Grande Valley requesting buses to transport the migrants.
‘Overnight there were multiple communities in the Rio Grande Valley asking us to provide buses for them, maybe even planes,’ said Abbott.
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, on Friday told Fox News that there had been a flurry of requests for buses to take migrants to Washington DC
Asylum-seeking migrants cross the Rio Bravo river from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico to El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday
He told Fox News hosts Dana Perino and Bill Hemmer: ‘When they come across the border, it’s not like they want to stay in the Rio Grande Valley.
‘They are moving across the entire country.
‘What better place to go to than the steps of the United States Capitol – they get to see the beautiful Capitol, and get closer to the people making the decisions.’
The scheme has been condemned by Democrats, with Sheila Jackson Lee, whose constituency encompasses parts of Houston, calling it an ‘act of hysteria and grandstanding’.
She added: ‘Those are not problem solving. They are adding to the grand march of hysteria.’
But Abbott insisted that it was legitimate.
Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat, said that Abbott’s scheme was ‘hysteria’ and did not solve the problem
Abbott defended the scheme, noting that the migrants did not want to remain in the Rio Grande Valley
Since Biden took office in January 2021, CBP has encountered more than 2.2 million migrants and the border – and that number could as much as triple with the end of Title 42 next month
‘Joe Biden has refused to come to the border to see the chaos that he has created by his open border policies,’ he said.
‘So we are going to take the border to him by transporting the people that he is dropping off in these local communities in the state of Texas, and sending them to Washington by plane or by bus.
‘What is happening is there is an increased number of people coming across the border. They, the federal government, are processing them and letting them loose.
‘What has been happening so far is that these people are getting on buses and going to San Antonio, or Houston, or other places like that.
‘So I think they just need longer bus rides.’
Migrants are pictured on Wednesday crossing into El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez
Migrants from Central and South America board a U.S. Customs and Border Protection bus after they crossed the Rio Grande river on Thursday
Abbott said the scheme had ‘been happening for weeks if not months now.’
He added: ‘We know the process works.
‘It’s just a matter of relocating the drop off point.’
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) confirmed to Fox Digital that they have dispatched an unspecified number of buses to small Texas communities.
‘In the last 24 hours, TDEM has dispatched buses to areas where communities have expressed concerns about the federal government dropping off migrants and has the capability to send as many as is necessary to fulfill the requests from mayors and county judges,’ said Seth Christensen, chief of media and communications for TDEM.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, pictured Wednesday, has announced a plan to bus illegal immigrants who cross into the Lone Star State straight to Washington DC
Ukrainian migrants seeking asylum are pictured in Mexico on April 6. Abbott says anyone crossing into Texas illegally will now be deposited on the steps of the US Capitol building
Nim Kidd, the chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (pictured in white shirt to right of Abbott) said as many buses as necessary would be filled, and cited prior disasters where 900 of the vehicles have been called into action
Title 42 was enacted by Trump to try and protect US from COVID
Title 42 was enacted by then-President Donald Trump in March 2020, as COVID began to surge across the United States.
The policy allows border patrol agents to deny entry to migrants without considering their asylum claims if they have been in a country where a communicable disease – such as COVID – is rife.
It has been used more than one million times during Donald Trump’s and Joe Biden’s presidencies, with its continuation under the Biden administration infuriating left-wing Democrats.
Already deeply controversial, the policy was lambasted by top Democrats when it emerged Ukrainian refugees fleeing their war-torn country to Mexico were being turned away at the US southern border under Title 42, despite Biden’s promise to welcome them ‘with open arms’.
But immigration experts told DailyMail.com that although Title 42 has left thousands of refugees in danger in Mexico, there is no plan for an effective and fair replacement system – meaning a pileup of tens of thousands of desperate asylum seekers at ports of entry is likely in border cities like Tijuana, south of California and Reynosa, across the border from Hidalgo, Texas.
‘From the [Rio Grande Valley] to Terrell County, a large majority of the communities that originally reached out for support through this operation have now said that the federal government has stopped dropping migrants in their towns since the governor’s announcement on Wednesday.’
Christensen said each bus ‘has the capacity and supplies necessary to carry up to 40 migrants.’
The announcement comes as the Biden administration said it would drop Title 42, the pandemic-era border restriction that immediately expels migrants back to Texas, which was enacted by Donald Trump.
In a statement on April 1, Abbott called ending Title 42 ‘reckless’.
He said Biden’s ‘open-border policies’ have caused the state to take drastic measures like sending out Department of Public Safety troopers and more than 10,000 Texas National Guard members to arrest migrants at the border.
And on April 6, Abbott warned that dumping Title 42 would lead to 18,000 illegal migrants crossing the border every day – equivalent to 500,000 a month.
He cited Obama-era Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson’s 2019 claim that 100,000 migrants crossing the border in a month could be considered a crisis in any circumstances.
And Abbott warned that the flow expected after Title 42 is axed would effectively add the number of people living in LA – four million – to the United States’ population by Christmas.
He explained: ‘We have more people potentially crossing our border by the end of this year than live in Los Angeles, America’s second-largest city.’
Abbott noted that Texas had become ‘the first state to ever build a wall to secure our border.’
Abbott also said he is implementing a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ for smuggling in migrants in vehicles at the border.
He said that agents would conduct ‘safety inspections’ on every vehicle trying to cross the border.
Abbott said the vehicle checks and migrant bussing would be in addition to blockades the state is implementing along the border.
He said that boats blockades, shipping container blockades and razor wire would be erected at high-traffic areas and low water crossings.