Texas sends migrants to vice-president’s Washington residence

    Migrants in Washington DC

    Two buses carrying migrants were sent from Texas to just outside Vice-President Kamala Harris’s residence in Washington DC on Thursday, amid a growing political row over immigration.

    The state’s Republican governor said the move was intentional and called for tighter immigration policies. It comes a day after Florida sent migrants to a Massachusetts island.

    Both states appear to be escalating a tactic which has seen Republican states send migrants to Democratic areas.

    As political tension over the number of people arriving at the US-Mexico border grows, states such as Texas and Arizona have sent thousands of migrants to cities such as Chicago, New York and Washington DC which they accuse of failing to fully enforce immigration laws.

    While legal experts say the tactic will likely be challenged in court, it remains unclear what the legal basis for such a challenge would be.

    Immigration groups in both Washington DC and the wealthy Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard said they were not given an advance warning about the arrivals.

    Footage shown on Fox News showed two buses – reportedly carrying between 75 and 100 people, arriving near the vice-president’s residence and migrants, who were mostly from Venezuela, gathering their belongings and standing nearby. A non-governmental organisation later came and reportedly transported them to a church.

    “Harris claims our border is ‘secure’ [and] denies the crisis,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott later wrote on Twitter. “We’re sending migrants to her backyard to call on the Biden Administration to do its job and secure the border.”

    Among the migrants on the buses in Washington were Delinyer Mendoza and his partner Maybel, a young Venezuelan couple who arrived in the US five days ago after an arduous trek through Central America and Mexico.

    While officials in Texas told the couple they were headed to Washington, the pair only learned that they were at the vice-president’s house when told by journalists.

    Woman and child
    The migrants, including children, arrived in Martha’s Vineyard

    In a similar move on Wednesday, two planes carrying migrants were flown to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The resort is a traditional summer destination for Hollywood stars and former President Barack Obama is among those who have holiday homes in the area.

    Officials and volunteers then “moved heaven and earth” to set up the response like “we would do in the event of a hurricane”, he said. Migrants were given food and clothing as well as being tested for Covid-19.

      Speaking at an event in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis said the state was willing to help facilitate the movement of migrants to be able to go to “greener pastures”.

      Governor DeSantis has previously cited Martha’s Vineyard as a possible destination for migrants being sent out of his state, telling reporters last year that if they were, the “border would be secure the next day”. This year, Florida representatives set aside $12m (£10.4m) for transporting migrants.

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