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Migrants sent from Texas arrive in cold DC on Christmas Eve

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Three buses full of migrants arrived at Vice President Harris’ residence in Washington from Texas on Christmas Eve amid bitterly cold temperatures, A self-help group said, the latest in an influx of new arrivals sent to the northeast from southern states.

About 110 to 130 men, women and children got off the buses in front of the Naval Observatory on Saturday evening in 18-degree weather after a two-day trip from southern Texas, according to the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network. At the coldest Christmas Eve ever recorded in the district, some migrants were bundled up in blankets as they were greeted by volunteers who had learned that the governor of Texas. Greg Abbott (R) had sent the caravan.

Volunteers rushed to meet asylum seekers after buses, which were due to arrive in New York on Christmas Day, were diverted due to wintry weather. In hastily organized hospitality, a Capitol Hill church agreed to temporarily house the group while one of the self-help groups, SAMU First Response, hosted 150 breakfasts, lunches and dinners through the chain of Sardis restaurants.

“DC continues to be welcoming,” said the network’s lead organizer, Amy Fischer. “Whether it’s Christmas Eve, freezing cold outside or hot outside, we’re always ready to welcome people with open arms and make sure they receive a warm welcome to this community. .”

Abbott began offering asylum seekers free passage to immigrant-friendly democratic cities On the East Coast in April, an effort to pressure the Biden administration into cracking down on the border. Other Republican governors, including Doug Ducey of Arizona and Ron DeSantis of Florida, also sent buses to New York and the nation’s capital.

Texas National Guard blocks migrant flow across border in El Paso

The White House condemned the action in a statement on Christmas Day, saying Abbott had not planned with federal authorities before the filing.

“Governor Abbott abandoned children on the side of the road in sub-zero temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordination with federal or local authorities,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said by e -email to The Post. “It was a cruel, dangerous and shameful stunt.”

“As we have said repeatedly, we are ready to work with anyone – Republican or Democrat – on real solutions, like comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures that President Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office, but these political games accomplish nothing and only put lives at risk,” Hasan said.

Abbott’s office did not respond to requests for comment or publicly confirm that he was dispatched by the buses. In a letter sent to President Biden on Tuesday, Abbott described conditions at the border, saying that cities in Texas have been unable to accommodate the continued influx of migrants coming from Mexico. He noted the upcoming arctic weather and said new arrivals risked “freezing to death on the city streets”. Temperatures in Texas dropped into the 20s and 20s in some cities this weekend.

“These communities and the state are ill-equipped to do the job assigned to the federal government — housing the thousands of migrants who stream into the country every day,” Abbott said.

Abbott last week deployed the Texas National Guard to try to prevent migrants from crossing the border at places other than official entry points, which have essentially been closed to many families and individuals due to a Trump-era policy that allows the United States to quickly send people across the border without the ability to seek asylum.

That policy, known as Title 42, was successfully challenged in court and was set to expire on Wednesday, but Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ordered that he be temporarily kept in place while the Supreme Court considers a last resort by Abbott and other Republican governors to prevent it from ending.

The Biden administration has said it is working to put in place new resources and policies at the border to deal with the large number of immigrants who want to enter the country and seek asylum, a lengthy process that puts them at risk. generally allows living in the United States. .. and work while waiting to be heard.

In his letter, Abbott called the administration’s efforts so far a “disaster” and said, “This terrible crisis for border communities in Texas is a disaster of your own making.”

In DC, buses had been arriving all week — three from Arizona, three more from Texas — so Tatiana Laborde knew it was going to be an “intense” time. But on Friday, Laborde – who is the general manager of SAMU First Response, one of the agencies with the town hall and the mutual aid network help migrants – discovered the three diverted buses. They were due to arrive on Sunday morning, Christmas Day.

But there was another surprise – the bus, from Del Rio, Texas, arrived early, parking near the Vice President’s Naval Observatory residence on Christmas Eve.

This destination seems to have more political significance than logistical purpose: while other buses have stopped at Union Station, the Naval Observatory is not near any other transportation hub. The vice president was in DC this weekend.

Those boarding the stream of state-chartered buses to Democratic cities are less focused on political maneuvering and more on getting to safety, Laborde said.

“Keep in mind that it didn’t stop,” Laborde said. We have seen slowdowns for a few weeks, but there is a steady stream of immigrants arriving in the district. It has become a standard. Not everything is negative, as it gives them the opportunity to be where they originally intended to be and where those seeking political asylum might have a better chance.

In response to the influx of bus migrants from border states and Florida, local organizations and governments have developed support. CC created a migrant services office to coordinate services, including temporary accommodation, meals and medical support.

The Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, a collection of aid groups that formed in response to Abbott’s latest tactic, mobilized volunteers who could greet migrants as they got off the buses on Saturday, Fischer said. The aid group, tipped off by a nongovernmental organization in contact with the Texas Department of Emergency Management, worked with the city to charter a bus to take the immigrants to church, where the asylum seekers received clothing hot and hot meals.

Volunteers also helped migrants figure out how they could reach friends and family members they hoped to stay with or had housing ties with. Laborde said his team was able to buy around 90 tickets for the migrants. New York and New Jersey were the main destinations. The farthest was Boston.

From border town to ‘frontier town,’ bus migrants seek new life in DC area

Most of the migrants on the buses that arrived on Saturday were from Central America or the Caribbean, Fischer said. About half of the group was made up of families. They came from Mexico through unauthorized and treacherous points along the border, while official border crossings remained closed under Title 42 Public Health Policy, a pandemic-era policy used to deport immigrants.

“It was the last leg of what has been a trying journey for them,” she said. In particular, the journey to the border is quite dangerous and violent. Then, of course, the chaos at the border and in the border facilities, it is reported to be cold and cruel. Many of them were really happy to reach smiling faces.

Michael Kranish and Cleve Wootson contributed to this report.