On Wednesday afternoon in the South Texas town of Weslaco, Gov. Greg Abbott announced his latest response to the influx of illegal immigration across the state’s southern border. It was immediately derided as a gimmick.

The most attention-grabbing proposal? A plan to send illegal aliens captured at the border to Washington, D.C., in buses.

“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,” said Abbott.

The proposal caught headlines of right-leaning media outlets, who were quick to report glowingly of the action.

Details released by Abbott shortly after, however, have let the air out of the tires. The bus trips will be voluntary.

In order to board a taxpayer-funded bus or flight, an illegal alien must volunteer to be transported and provide documentation from the Department of Homeland Security showing that they had been detained and released.

“It’s a gimmick,” wrote State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler) on Twitter in response to the plan.

“Busses? Gas? Food? Is this what the budget surplus will be used for instead of property tax relief?” asked former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West, who came in second place to Abbott during the primary election last month. He was referring to reports that lawmakers will have a $25 billion budget surplus in 2023.

Media personality Chad Prather, who also challenged Abbott in the primary election, urged the governor to “do better.”

Wade Miller, the executive director of Citizens for Renewing America, called the plan “an unserious response.”

Former State Sen. Konni Burton called the proposal a stunt, adding that she is “done with political red meat stunts that don’t solve a damn thing.”

Not all were unhappy with the proposal, however. Young Conservatives of Texas rushed to celebrate the plan.

Republican Party of Texas Vice Chair Cat Parks also applauded the proposal:

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens