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.
It’s a gimmick. #txlege https://t.co/pVFckS49WC
— Matt Schaefer (@RepMattSchaefer) April 6, 2022
“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.
1/Yesterday Texas Governor Greg Abbott made a huge announcement on his plan to deal with the Biden administration ending Title 42 restrictions on illegal immigrants. He is going to bus them to Washington, DC.
So my question is simple: who pays for this "stuck on stupid" idea?
— Allen West (@AllenWest) April 7, 2022
Media personality Chad Prather, who also challenged Abbott in the primary election, urged the governor to “do better.”
Driving to the border to see how many illegals volunteer to jump in the truck for a ride to DC. Dumb campaign stunt Gov. Abbott. Do better. pic.twitter.com/UxCUNvJoGq
— Chad Prather (@WatchChad) April 7, 2022
Wade Miller, the executive director of Citizens for Renewing America, called the plan “an unserious response.”
Thread 🧵 @GregAbbott_TX announced his stage 1 actions on the border. “Stage 1” will do essentially nothing to stop the massive flow of illegals across the border.
I had some hope that serious actions would be taken, but so far this is an unserious response.
— Wade Miller 1️⃣8️⃣3️⃣6️⃣ (@WadeMiller_USMC) April 6, 2022
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.”
The problem is @tedcruz, @GregAbbott_TX’ proclamation to send illegal aliens from Texas to D.C. is VOLUNTARY.
This is just another stunt and I am done with political red meat stunts that don’t solve a damn thing. #txlege https://t.co/jTCs8s3at8
— Konni Burton (@KonniBurton) April 7, 2022
Not all were unhappy with the proposal, however. Young Conservatives of Texas rushed to celebrate the plan.
🚨 TEXAS TO BUS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO WASHINGTON DC 🚨#txlege
— Young Conservatives of Texas (@yct) April 6, 2022
Republican Party of Texas Vice Chair Cat Parks also applauded the proposal:
Texas reacts. https://t.co/Rp3QbV8vbE pic.twitter.com/SYzlpKnN8y
— Cat Parks (@CatParksTX) April 6, 2022