Aug 31, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Texas has spent over $12 million sending migrants to New York and D.C.

Migrants arrive on a bus from Texas to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York.
Migrants arrive on a bus from Texas to New York. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas has spent more than $12 million to send migrants from the Lone Star state to New York and Washington, D.C., the Texas Division of Emergency Management confirmed to Axios.

The big picture: Texas has been sending thousands of migrants on buses to these two cities, and New York and D.C. officials said earlier this month they were overwhelmed by the influx.

Driving the news: The Texas Division of Emergency Management told Axios that it "has paid over $12 million transporting migrants processed and released by the federal government in Texas border communities."

  • Specifically, Texas paid $12,707,720.92 to Wynne Transportation to help charter buses of migrants to the two East Coast cities, according to CNN, which obtained a spreadsheet of the state of Texas' financial information through a Freedom of Information Act request.

What they're saying: “President Biden’s reckless open border policies have created an ongoing crisis [...] and he has left Texans footing the bill for his inaction," Renae Eze, press secretary for Abbott, told Axios in an emailed statement.

  • "Until President Biden and Congress do their jobs and secure our southern border, Texas will continue utilizing every strategy to address this border crisis and protect Texans,” Eze added.

Between the lines: The $12 million suggests each trip has cost close to $1,300 so far, the El Paso Times reports.

  • If purchased independently, a one-day bus trip from El Paso to New York City costs around $291, and a ticket from El Paso to D.C. is about $324, according to the El-Paso Times. Flights for those trips hover around $400.
  • The governor's office has been asking for private donations to help fund the venture, per the San Antonio Express-News. So far, donations have brought in around $118,000.

State of play: Abbott has decided to send migrants up the coast as a part of his Operation Lone Star.

  • "Before we began busing migrants to New York, it was just Texas and Arizona that bore the brunt of all the chaos and problems that come with it," Abbott said in a statement on Aug. 19. "Now, the rest of America can understand exactly what is going on."
  • Abbott's office said in a statement last week that "the busing mission is providing much-needed relief to our overwhelmed border communities."
  • D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have asked for federal aid to help with the influx of migrants.
  • "There's nothing successful about treating people with this lack of dignity," Adams said earlier in August.

Go deeper: ACLU calls for investigation of Operation Lone Star

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout

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