Washington: Two buses carrying migrants were sent from Texas to just outside US Vice-President Kamala Harris’s residence here in DC, amid a growing political row over immigration ahead of the midterm polls.
Texas Republican governor said the move on Thursday was intentional and called for tighter immigration policies. It comes a day after Florida sent migrants to a Massachusetts island.
Both states appear to be escalating a tactic which has seen Republican states send migrants to Democratic areas.
“Harris claims our border is ‘secure’ (and) denies the crisis,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott later wrote on Twitter. “We’re sending migrants to her backyard to call on the Biden administration to do its job and secure the border.”
As political tension over the number of people arriving at the US-Mexico border grows, states also including Arizona have sent thousands of migrants to cities like Chicago, New York and Washington DC which they accuse of failing to fully enforce immigration laws.
While legal experts say the tactic will likely be challenged in court, it remains unclear what the legal basis for such a challenge would be, a BBC report said.
Immigration groups in both Washington DC and the wealthy Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard said they were not given an advance warning about the arrivals.
Television footage showed two buses — reportedly carrying between 75 and 100 people — arrive near the vice-president’s residence.
Migrants, who were mostly from Venezuela, gathered their belongings and stood huddled up.
A non-governmental organisation later came and reportedly transported them to a church, the BBC said.
While officials in Texas told the migrants they were headed to Washington, they only learned that they were at the vice-president’s house when told by journalists present at the spot.
BBC quoted a local volunteer helping the migrants, Carla Bustillos, as saying that immigration organisations were only told about the arrivals at the last minute. “While we’re doing this political show, we have human beings feeling that their suffering is being exploited,” she said.