Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that undocumented migrants released into his state will be shipped to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., as border checkpoints struggle to manage the flow of people attempting to enter the United States and the Biden administration's move to eliminate the Title 42 expulsion provision.
The state will provide charter buses to drop off migrants – many released into small Texas communities that officials say are overwhelmed – in Washington, the Republican governor said in a news conference.
"We are sending them to the United States Capitol where the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border," Abbott said.
He noted that cities along the Texas-Mexico border have bused migrants to San Antonio.
"So I said I got a better idea. As opposed to busing these people to San Antonio, let's continue the ride all the way to Washington D.C.," Abbott said.
The first location where migrants will be dropped off is the U.S. Capitol, officials said.
W. Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, said his agency will "use as many buses as we need" to follow Abbott's directive. In past emergencies, up to 900 buses have been activated for evacuations, he said.
In addition, Abbott signed an order directing the state Department of Public Safety to conduct "enhanced" inspections of vehicles crossing into the U.S. from Mexico to ensure residents are not put in danger by unsafe vehicles or unsafe drivers.
He also announced actions to deter illegal immigration, such as using razor wire in low-water crossings. This week, the Texas National Guard will begin the first phase of "mass migration" rehearsals in preparation for a potential influx of migrants at the border, officials said.
"If you're a caravan organizer and you think you're going to overwhelm or overrun a port of entry, we'll be there waiting for you," said Maj. General Thomas Suelzer, the Texas National Guard adjutant general.
Areas along the Texas-Mexico border used heavily by human smugglers will also see increased lighting at night, officials said. The actions announced Wednesday will be funded by local taxpayers.
"Securing the border does not come cheap," Abbott said. "Securing the border would cost Texas nothing if the federal government was doing its job, but because Joe Biden is not securing the border, the state of Texas is having to step up and spend Texas taxpayer money doing the federal government's job."