I recently reported that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) have sought federal help in dealing with a tiny portion of the million-plus migrants who had been arrested after entering illegally and released by the Biden administration into the interior. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has now invited Bowser and Adams to the border, “to see firsthand the dire situation that only grows more urgent with each passing day, and to meet with the local officials, who like yourselves, realize this matter deserves immediate federal action”. Abbott has now put the ball into the mayors’ court, and they should accept his offer—and then ask Biden for a border policy change.
The “Border to D.C. Express”. Abbott started the match in April, when he decided to provide federal lawmakers a sample of what border-town officials are dealing with daily by offering released migrants free bus trips from his state to the Nation’s Capital, a sort of “Texas to D.C. Express”.
That became a “Border to D.C. Express” when Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) began a similar program in May. More than 6,100 migrants have since arrived in D.C. from Texas and an additional 1,100 from Arizona in the interim, creating what Vanity Fair has termed “A Migrant Crisis in Washington” as “the border has come to D.C.”
The New York Times has called the governors’ efforts “A political tactic . . . to offload the problems caused by record levels of migration at the border”, but concedes it has caused “havoc”, with “hundreds of undocumented migrants arriving on the governors’ free bus rides each week” who “increasingly tax the capital’s ability to provide emergency food and housing”.
When both the (left leaning) “newspaper of record” and an erstwhile fashion journal acknowledge the governors have successfully foisted their border problems to D.C., their efforts have plainly not been for naught.
The Mayors' Complaints. Bowser’s not happy, deriding Abbott’s and Ducey’s programs as “cruel political gamesmanship” that “must be dealt with at the federal level”.
In a letter to the Department of Defense (DoD), she expressed “great empathy for the very difficult situation people boarding buses to unknown locations are facing”, but nonetheless contended that she was “very concerned that the social safety net” she’s responsible for providing her residents is maintained, and thus sought National Guard assistance.
By the way, she also revealed in that letter that $1 million has flowed from FEMA to her local NGOs “as they stepped up to help migrants seeking asylum in our country”, money for which her government served “as a conduit”.
Note that FEMA is the DHS agency that assists in disasters (it keeps a list of current ones on its website), a tacit admission that Biden’s border catastrophe ranks up there with hurricanes and wild fires.
For his part, Adams demanded federal cash “immediately” in order “to both meet the legal mandate as a right-to-shelter city and provide high-quality shelter and services for those who enter our system”—in the face of a migrant influx of 2,800 into his city (population: 8.467 million).
Adams has made just his city’s problems worse, however. Although he had complained in July that the increase in migrants into his sanctuary city was being stage-managed, in part, by Austin and Phoenix, that was not the case. His complaints, however, have seemingly prompted Abbott to add a stop to Manhattan to his state’s bus route.
Abbott's Letter, and the Response. Keeping with my tennis analogy, Abbott has put his own [back]spin on the mayors’ return to his initial bus serve.
His August 1 letter to their offices painted the duo’s grumblings and demands for federal funding as their “recent interest in this historic and preventable crisis”, and asserted that such attention was “a welcome development—especially as the President and his Administration have shown no remorse for their actions nor desire to address the situation themselves”.
That latter part is demonstrably true. Republican leadership asserted in September that Joe Biden hasn’t been to the Southwest border since at least 2008 (he hasn’t been there as president), and my colleague Mark Krikorian described Vice President Kamala Harris’ sole trip there since taking office—when she went last summer for four hours to the then-comparably placid El Paso sector—as a “layover”.
Adams, for one, could not keep himself from taking the bait, with his press secretary Fabien Levy stating:
Instead of a photo op at the border, we hope Governor Abbott will focus his energy and resources on providing support and resources to asylum seekers in Texas as we have been hard at work doing in New York City.
It doesn’t appear that Adams, Bowser, or Levy has been to south Texas since “Biden’s Border Fiasco” (as Bloomberg Opinion terms it) began. The small and largely poor towns and counties there have been providing all the support and resources they can to those released illegal migrants—95 percent of whom are not “asylum seekers”, per se.
Shifting some of that burden to their larger, wealthier—and immigrant sanctuary—counterparts up north was the reason Abbott started busing migrants there to begin with.
It might have been easy and popular for Bowser to “reaffirm” D.C. as a “sanctuary city” in response to Donald Trump’s election as president. Trump’s gone and D.C.’s bill is now due, especially since DoD has rejected Bowser’s request for National Guard assistance.
As the New York Times aptly explained: “The Texas governor and the mayors agree on one point: All three are calling on the federal government to act.” It’s past time for Bowser and Adams to put their cheap sanctimony aside and to call on the Biden administration to start deterring illegal entrants at the Southwest border, to halt the migrant surge.
Biden has no plans to deter illegal migrants now (he instead wants to make it easier for every foreign national who can make it here to apply for asylum), and won’t listen to his political opponents in Texas and Arizona. He would be hard-pressed, however, to ignore reason from the Democratic mayors of the capitals of the free world and international finance (respectively).
At present, Bowser and Adams are happy simply mewling about the costs of taking 0.6 percent of the 1.129 million-plus migrants the Biden administration has released (in contravention of statute). It would be seemlier—and more effective—for them to press the president to halt the border flow. If they don’t believe me, they should take Abbott up on his offer, and check it out themselves.