Several busloads of migrants were dropped off outside of the Washington, D.C., residence of Vice President Kamala Harris on Christmas Eve — apparently the latest in an escalating battle between state officials and the Biden administration over the country’s immigration policy.
A total of three busloads of migrants arrived at the Naval Observatory, where Harris lives, on Saturday evening, WTOP reported. The Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, a local grassroots organization, met the migrants, who were inadequately dressed for the freezing temperature, according to the station.
Earlier this year, some state governors began sending buses of migrants to the nation’s capital, after the Biden administration attempted to lift a pandemic-era policy that let the U.S. deny entry to immigrants.
At least one governor from these states, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, said his state is purposefully busing migrants to sanctuary cities, where law enforcement are discouraged from deporting immigrants.
Amy Fischer, an organizer with the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, told NPR’s All Things Considered on Sunday that Abbott’s actions were “rooted in racism and xenophobia.”
“At the end of the day, everybody who arrived here last night was able to get free transportation, on a charter bus, that got them closer to their final destination,” she said.
In a statement in April, U.S. Customs & Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus criticized Abbott’s decision to “move migrants without adequately coordinating with the federal government and local border communities.”
Two previous busloads of migrants arrived at Harris’ residence in September, following an interview in which Harris said the border was secure.
“The border is secure, but we also have a broken immigration system, particularly over the last four years before we came in, and it needs to be fixed,” Harris told NBC’s Meet the Press in a Sept. 11 interview.
As of Dec. 22, more than 8,700 migrants had been bused to Washington, D.C., from the Texas border, according to the Texas Governor’s office, which says another 6,520 people (combined) were sent to New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
“This terrible crisis for border communities in Texas is a catastrophe of your own making,” Abbott wrote in a letter to the president on Dec. 20. “These communities and the state are ill-equipped to do the job assigned to the federal government – house the thousands of migrants flooding into the country every day. With perilous temperatures moving into the area, many of these migrants are at risk of freezing to death on city streets.”