Right-wing governor Greg Abbott’s anti-immigrant stunts over the years have cost taxpayers both in his state and around the country billions of dollars. One of his most recent policies, his abhorrent decision to use asylum-seekers as human props by busing them to Washington, D.C., is no different.
NBC 5 reports that Abbott’s decision to bus migrants from Texas to D.C. for free is costing more than $1,400 per passenger, “higher than the cost of a first-class plane ticket from some Texas border towns to the nation’s capital.” First-class tickets topped $900—hundreds of dollars less than what Abbott is paying.
The report said that state documents reveal that the stunt has cost $1.6 million so far. While Abbott said that he would crowdfund to raise money for the scheme, it’s raised only about $112,000.
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“Meanwhile, some aid organizations in Washington D.C. argue the buses are not straining the resources of the federal government, as Abbott hoped,” NBC 5 reports. I mean, how gross is it that this is what Abbott openly hoped for? “Instead, they say the burden has fallen on local D.C. charities that have stepped forward to assist migrants who are left at the curb when the governor’s border buses pull into the city,” the report continued.
Thank God for decent people. The New York Times reported in April that volunteers in D.C. have used apps like WhatsApp to try to coordinate aid for newly arrived migrants, helping with food, plans for their next stop if they’re not staying in D.C., and reminders to check in with federal immigration officials as required (reminder: asylum-seekers regularly attend their hearings). Volunteers have helped shelter migrants and made sure they arrived at the airport safely, and on time for the next leg of their journeys, the report said.
Santo Linarte López told the Times that he didn’t have much money left after traveling from Nicaragua, with hopes to meet family in North Carolina. “He said he did not understand why Mr. Abbott was paying for him to travel north, but he was grateful.”
A joint report from ProPublica and Marshall Project said that Operation Lone Star, Abbott’s racist scheme of illegally detaining Black and brown migrants without any formal charges, is costing taxpayers more than $2 million a week. “The Texas Military Department estimates that the current deployment of 10,000 National Guard members will cost an additional $2 billion a year, nearly five times what the Legislature had budgeted for the deployment,” the report said.
Abbott is also under a Treasury Department watchdog investigation, after a very questionable use of federal pandemic funds as part of his racist Operation Lone Star. The watchdog said that should the probe reveal that Texas misused the federal funds, he can “direct recoupment of the money,” the report said. Recent figures show state Republicans grabbing roughly $1 billion in federal funding to help keep detaining Black and brown migrants.
Congressional lawmakers led by Texas’ Joaquin Castro and Veronica Escobar had this week urged the Treasury Department to investigate Abbott using federal funds like his personal ATM for racist hate, writing that he was diverting money from critical public sector resources. “It is negligent and irresponsible for Governor Abbot to direct additional funding to Operation Lone Star, especially if the funding in question was intended to help Texans rebuild from the pandemic,” they wrote.
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