Since April, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the chartering of buses to transport between 8,000 to 9,000 migrants to Washington, D.C., and New York City. Operation Lone Star is a political retaliation to the Biden administration ending the Remain in Mexico order from former President Trump and the status of these cities as sanctuary cities for asylum seekers. Governor Abbott has stated that the recent loosening of border policies are “overwhelming” border communities and that the transportation of migrants elsewhere is providing said communities with “much needed relief.”
Since the program began, the state of Texas has spent over $12 million in taxpayer money — averaging about $1,400 per person in transportation costs. This is in addition to the billions already spent by the state maintaining border violence and hostility since 2005. This relocation is only part of a larger campaign to misrepresent border issues and scapegoat migrants as villains, illustrated by the Texas government’s manipulation of arrest numbers and alleged civil rights violations.
Abbott insists that all of the migrants being transported are doing so consensually since they have to provide their written signature to be transported out of the state. His office has gone so far as to assert that the migrants must volunteer and “show documentation from DHS.” However, there is little to no evidence to support this claim. There has also been no information as to the conditions under which the written permission was obtained from the migrants.
The Department of Homeland Services has responded to Abbott’s program by claiming that it is throwing a wrench into the federal system for processing migrants due to his lack of coordination or cooperation with the agency. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claims that the “lack of coordination wreaks problems in [the federal government’s] very efficient processing.” While Governor Abbott’s plan is incredibly despicable and discriminatory, the flaws and biases of the federal government’s regular handling of immigration are widely documented.
New York City mayor blames migrants for shelter overcrowding
In response to these migrant arrivals in the city, Mayor Eric Adams has capitalized on this legalized trafficking to attack Greg Abbott in the media and credit this situation as being the reason for New York’s increasingly severe houseless shelter situation. This of course is not true as Mayor Adams has been at the center of numerous controversies due to his aggressive yet ineffective stance on New York City’s housing and houseless issues since his term began.
Adams oversaw the end of New York City’s eviction moratorium this past January. Since then, rents have been skyrocketing across the city and eviction filings have more than doubled since last year — and this is not including illegal lockouts or people priced out of their homes. New mandates from Adams have forced houseless people out of shelter in subway stations or encampment communities. Last month, the chief spokesperson for New York City’s Department of Homeless Services was fired after pushing back against lies and omissions from the mayor’s office regarding illegal conditions in the shelter system. New York City shelters are notoriously unsafe, unsanitary and are even considered “death traps” by some houseless people. Since Adams took office, the amount of people in shelters has increased by 5,000.
Adams has admitted to “re-ticketing” some of the new arrivals to other destinations. Other migrants are sleeping on city streets due to the failures of Eric Adams, Greg Abbott, and DHS to provide adequate accommodations for those seeking asylum. They join the country’s over 580,000 people experiencing houselessness on any given night. Despite the severity of the situation, Mayor Adams jokes of taking a bus full of New Yorkers down to Texas to campaign against Abbott for the 2022 Texas governor elections.
Migrants and houseless folks already face precarity and uncertainty, a situation made worse by Mayor Adams’s inadequate response. All people deserve safe, clean and affordable shelter!