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The top US Customs and Border Protection official on Thursday criticized Gov. Greg Abbott’s controversial new plan to bus migrants into Washington, DC, saying it was not communicating properly with the federal agency or border communities.
“We all have one thing in common [interest] in maintaining safe, orderly and humane immigration processes, and government support should be carefully coordinated with us,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement.
Abbott unveiled his plan to bus and fly migrants to the nation’s capital at a news conference last week in response to President Joe Biden’s repeal of Title 42, a Trump-era emergency health regulation that allowed the Immigration authorities allowed migrants to be refused entry due to COVID-19 pandemic. Abbott said sending migrants to Washington would allow the Biden administration “to more directly address the needs of the people they allow to cross our border.”
The first bus with migrants arrived in the capital on Wednesday. Volunteers from Catholic charities escorted the migrants off the bus and helped coordinate their next steps after hearing of the bus’s arrival. According to John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities and a volunteer, many of the migrants had relatives in the area and left the area shortly after getting off the bus.
Abbott’s office said the migrants traveling to Washington have been processed and released by the Department of Homeland Security and the trips are voluntary.
But Magnus said Abbott is making the job of CBP officials more difficult by taking migrants so far away from their immigration procedures and not coordinating those steps with the federal government.
“While individuals await the outcome of their immigration process, they are required by law to report for the next steps in their immigration process and are allowed to travel elsewhere,” Magnus said. “CBP’s close partnerships with other governmental and non-governmental stakeholders are critical to this effort and to ensuring the fairness, order and humanity of this process.”
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