Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas has bused more than 103,600 illegal aliens to sanctuary cities. 

This includes over 12,500 to Washington, D.C. since April 2022; 38,200 to New York City since August 2022; 31,700 to Chicago since August 2022; 3,400 to Philadelphia since November 2022; 16,300 to Denver since May 2023; and 1,500 to Los Angeles since June 2023.

Texas Scorecard asked the Texas Department of Emergency Management how the state is screening illegal aliens for criminal backgrounds before busing them further into the country, but TDEM provided a non-answer. 

After a Public Information Act request to TDEM asking for all records of identification, screening, criminal background checks, and tracking systems for illegal aliens bused out of the state turned up nothing, Texas Scorecard followed up by asking if this means that there are no screening processes in place for the illegal alien busing program. 

TDEM Chief of Media, Communications, and Preparedness Seth Christensen responded to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry, stating that there are no records responsive to the public records request because “the state’s border bus program transports individuals with documentation following their processing and release by the federal government in overwhelmed Texas border communities.” 

Christensen continued, explaining that “[i]n order to board state buses traveling to sanctuary cities, a migrant must sign a State of Texas Travel Consent Form” and provide the following documentation that would prove their release by the federal government: 

  • Notice to Appear or Call in Letter
  • Order of Release on Recognizance 

However, Christensen avoided answering if TDEM screens for criminal backgrounds. 

Texas Scorecard followed up with Christensen and asked if the federal documentation notes if he or she is wanted for a crime other than illegal border crossings. This could include but are not limited to sex trafficking, murder, and/or rape. 

Christensen did not answer any more inquiries—even after multiple extended deadlines. Texas Scorecard reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and asked how they screen for criminal backgrounds when processing illegal aliens but has not yet received an official response. 

A 2020 press release from CBP says it is the responsibility of a CBP officer to determine admissibility at Ports of Entry into the United States. It also states that officers are responsible for preventing the entry of ineligible aliens including criminals. 

However, the press release does not provide any other information about how illegal aliens are screened for previous criminal activity.

The governor’s office did not respond to Texas Scorecard‘s request for comment before publication.

Will Biagini

Will was born in Louisiana and raised in a military family. He currently serves as a journalist with Texas Scorecard. Previously, he was a senior correspondent for Campus Reform.