Texas taxpayers are paying the price for Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to bus migrants who crossed into the U.S. illegally to Washington, D.C.
As of June 7, $2.9 million in taxpayer funds have sent only 1,778 immigrants to the nation’s capital, according to Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) documents – and the figure is expected to rise as more buses have already been deployed and Abbott shows no signs of slowing the stunt.
More than $1 million of the total cost has gone toward security alone, while taxpayers are also footing the bill for drivers and GPS tracking, among other things.
To help curb the costs of the initiative, Abbott launched a crowdfunding page to bus migrants called the Border Transportation Funding Donations. As of May 27, 2022 the fund has raised just $112,842 toward the effort.
Abbott’s office said Friday that more than 70 buses carrying 2,100 people have so far departed from the border in Texas, meaning that the taxpayer bill will continue to increase in future reports.
An open records request from NBC 5 Investigates found that busing each migrant to D.C. costs $1,400. Some buses carry more passengers than others – one carried just nine people while another had 53 on board.
During a visit to Eagle Pass, Texas in late May, Abbott told reporters that he could send as many as 450 buses from his state to D.C. The first bus arrived in mid April carrying just 24 migrants.
The goal of transporting migrants northeast, according to the governor, is to put the border crisis in the faces of politicians in D.C. rather than continue to plague Texas communities with influxes of illegal immigrants.
Migration at the southern border continues to surge going into the summer months. The fourth straight month of migration increases saw 239,416 crossings in May, which is the highest so far of President Joe Biden’s time in office and a new two-decade high.
Chief Patrol Agent for the del Rio Sector Jason D. Owens tweeted images on Saturday of hundreds of migrants apprehended by border patrol and awaiting processing for their asylum claims.
‘As previously mentioned, the Del Rio Sector accounts for nearly 50% of all large groups apprehended by the US Border Patrol,’ Owens tweeted along with three images.
‘Groups of 100 are bad,’ he added, ‘now we are seeing groups over 200, 300, & even over 400!’
‘In the past 48 hours, agents encountered 8 groups totaling 1,780 migrants!’ Owens wrote, which is very close to the number of migrants Abbott has sent to D.C. by bus.
The TDEM documents reveal information from bus trips spanning April 11 through June 7, which shows that 61 bus trips carried 1,778 people to D.C. from Texas for $2.9 million – the math equates to the cost of $1,600 per passenger.
First class one-way tickets from San Antonio to Washington, D.C. are in the $600 range for July and commercial bus and train tickets are even less.
The initiative was announced in early April, when Abbott said the ‘unprecedented’ state response to the migration crisis was to bring the issue to the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
‘To help local officials whose communities are being overwhelmed by hordes of illegal immigrants who are being dropped off by the Biden administration, Texas is providing charter buses to send these illegal immigrants … to Washington, D.C.,’ Abbott said at the time.
‘We are sending them to the United States Capitol where the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the immediate needs of people they are allowing to come across our border.’
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