Washington, Dec 25 (EFE).- Three buses loaded with migrants and chartered by the Republican state government of Texas arrived on Christmas Eve in Washington, one of them halting and disembarking its passengers in front of the official residence of US Vice President Kamala Harris at the Naval Observatory, local media reported Sunday.
Since April, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sent dozens of buses carrying migrants to states governed by Democrats as a way to protest the immigration policy being pursued by the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden, moves that have been heavily criticized by human rights organizations.
The 140 or so people – reportedly most of them Central and South Americans – who disembarked from the three buses were quickly attended to by social organizations, which for months have been helping the migrants sent north from Texas with clothing, food and shelter.
Some of the migrants reportedly arrived in frigid and snowstorm-beset Washington wearing t-shirts and without shoes at a time when Winter Storm Elliott has brought the coldest Christmas temperatures in decades to much of the nation, CNN reported.
Immigration activists said that Abbott’s move was particularly “awful” and “cruel” given the winter weather in the nation’s capital and because of the fact that the migrants were deposited there on Christmas Eve.
“This was a cruel, dangerous, and shameful stunt,” White House assistant press secretary Abdullah Hasan said in a statement, adding: “As we have repeatedly said, we are willing to work with anyone – Republican or Democrat alike – on real solutions, like the comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures President Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office, but these political games accomplish nothing and only put lives in danger.”
Last week, several states governed by conservatives, including Texas, managed to get various courts to postpone the elimination of Title 42, a health-based federal policy enabling the government to quickly expel migrants who illegally cross into the US without allowing them to request asylum.
The regulation was implemented during the Donald Trump administration and has also been used by the Biden administration, but it was due to expire on Dec. 22 by court order until the conservative-majority US Supreme Court halted that move, at least temporarily.
In recent years, many thousands of people have illegally crossed into the US across the southern border and many of them have gathered in El Paso, Texas, where recently they have had to sleep outdoors in icy temperatures.