More than six dozen busloads of migrants from Arizona and Texas have arrived in Washington, DC, this spring, as the border states attempt to curb a massive influx of migrant crossings along the Mexico border, according to a new report.
More than 2,500 people released from Border Patrol custody have voluntarily traveled to the nation’s capital on 79 state-provided buses, officials confirmed to the Washington Examiner this week.
Of the 79 buses, 65 of them — carrying more than 2,000 people — started their journey from Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott began the program in April.
At the time, Abbott said he would be shuttling the migrants away from the border to help local communities deal with overcrowding.
“We are sending them to the United States capital where the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border,” the Republican said on April 6.
All the migrants who were transported volunteered to ride the buses and are legally allowed to travel within the US after clearing the first hurdle to seeking asylum.
Typically, migrants have to pay for their own travel in the US after they are released from Customs and Border Protection custody and before appearing in front of an immigration judge.
Morgan Carr, a spokeswoman for Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, told the Examiner that many people crossing the border are going the same way the buses are.
“These people are wanting to go somewhere else. They’re not wanting to stay in Arizona,” she said. “From what we’re seeing, they’re all primarily [headed to] the East Coast.”
Arizona has transported approximately 523 migrants on 14 buses since mid-May, according to the report. One bus left the state as recently as Tuesday.
While the buses from Texas have primarily been state-funded, Arizona officials are seeking to have the Biden administration pay for theirs.
“This is a problem caused by Washington. We’re bringing it to Washington, and we expect Washington to foot the bill. We’re going to send them a bill,” Ducey spokesman C.J. Karamargin told the outlet last month.
Earlier this month, NBC News revealed the Department of Homeland Security would use taxpayer dollars to transport migrants to cities across the country — including Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas — in a scheme dubbed the “Abbott plan” due to its similarity to the Texas scheme.
At the time, a DHS spokesperson told The Post that “no decision has been made” about whether to go through with the plan.
“Should a decision be made, DHS will continue to closely coordinate with and support cities and NGOs to facilitate the movement of any individual encountered at the southwest border who is placed into removal proceedings pending the next steps in their immigration proceedings,” the spokesperson added.
The busing of migrants has come as the southern border sees record numbers of immigrant encounters — 234,088 in April alone.
When Arizona and Texas officials first initiated their plan to transport the migrants, it remained unclear if the Title 42 health protocol allowing summary expulsions would be rescinded — potentially paving the way for an even bigger surge in attempted crossings.
Ultimately, a federal judge ruled May 20 to keep the order in place and immediate exclusions under the policy have continued.
It is not immediately clear if the ruling will curb attempted border crossings, as some border towns saw a spike in the days that followed. However, border agents in the busy El Paso sector say they have begun to see a drop in the average number of daily migrant encounters.
Officials told Border Report this week that the daily average of encounters has dropped to approximately 775 — after climbing above 1,000 in April and May.
Customs and Border Protection has yet to report official expulsion and encounter data for May.