Human rights defenders condemned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and "extremist Republicans' cruel values" after several busloads of migrants were dropped off outside U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris' Washington, D.C. home in subfreezing temperatures on Christmas Eve.
For the second time since September, Central and South American migrants were bussed from Texas to the vice president's residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory in the nation's capital. According to reports, some of the asylum-seekers were wearing only t-shirts and shorts as the mercury dropped to 18°F (-8°C) on Saturday.
"This was intended to be a cruel stunt by Greg Abbott, but people are working around the clock to treat these families with the dignity they deserve."
While it is not known who ordered the migrants bussed to the capital, advocates pointed fingers at Abbott. The Republican Texas governor—along with GOP Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Doug Ducey of Arizona—have bussed more than 10,000 migrants to Democratic-led cities since April to protest what they falsely call the Biden administration's "open border" immigration policies.
"What we're seeing are Greg Abbott and extremist Republicans' cruel values," tweeted the youth-led Sunrise Movement. "This is who they are. Don't forget that."
Amy Fischer, a volunteer with the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, toldCNN that her group was prepared for the migrants' arrival.
"The D.C. community has been welcoming buses from Texas anytime they've come since April. Christmas Eve and freezing cold weather is no different," she said. "We are always here welcoming folks with open arms."
In a separate interview with The Guardian, Fischer said that "it really does show the cruelty behind Gov. Abbott and his insistence on continuing to bus people here without care about people arriving late at night on Christmas Eve when the weather is so cold."
Progressive activist Jenn Kauffman tweeted that "the only reason these families were outside so briefly is because of the work of the D.C. Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network."
"This was intended to be a cruel stunt by Greg Abbott, but people are working around the clock to treat these families with the dignity they deserve," she added.
In a letter to President Joe Biden last week, Abbott said that "you and your administration must stop the lie that the border is secure and instead immediately deploy federal assets to address the dire problems you have caused."
Earlier this week, Abbott deployed hundreds of National Guard troops and state police to the Mexican border in service of what the advocacy group Border Network for Human Rights called a "racist, anti-refugee, xenophobic agenda."
On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned migrants that the Biden administration is still enforcing Title 42, a section of the Public Health Safety Act first invoked by the Trump administration as the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020.
On December 19, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts granted a request from 19 Republican-led states to temporarily block the Biden administration from ending Title 42 expulsions.