A Democrat city in Texas on the Mexico border has bussed more people to migrant sanctuary cities – in a bid to highlight illegal immigration – than the state’s own Republican governor.
El Paso, which sits across the border from Juarez, Mexico, sent 7,000 migrants to New York City by bus over the last six weeks, and 1,800 to Chicago.
That is more migrants than were moved north to those Democrat-led cities in high-profile recent efforts by Greg Abbott, Texas’s Republican governor.
It shows that even Democrat politicians on the Texas border with Mexico believe they are not able to cope with the influx.
Oscar Leeser, the current Democrat mayor, said the city’s migrant bussing programme was “completely different” to Mr Abbott’s and “treats people with respect”.
But he also said the Biden administration should pay for the buses.
Mr Leeser said: “This is a federal issue. They’re not coming to El Paso, they’re coming to the United States.”
By coincidence, El Paso is the home town of Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat challenging Mr Abbott for the governorship of Texas in November.
Mr O’Rourke, who was previously mayor of El Paso, was not involved in the bussing decisions.
Mr Abbott has sent more than 3,000 migrants to New York City by bus, and more than 900 to Chicago.
He and Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, have also, between them, bussed 10,000 migrants to Washington.
Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor, recently flew a group of 50 migrants to the celebrity bolthole of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
The Republican figures are trying to draw more widespread attention to the fact that there have been more than two million cases of border patrol officers intercepting migrants along the US-Mexico border so far this year.
The White House, along with the Democrat mayors of New York, Chicago and Washington, have lambasted the Republican governors for creating confusion with surprise drop-offs, and said that the bussing campaign strains resources in their cities.
But El Paso’s Democrat leaders said bussing migrants north was needed because up to 2,000 were arriving there every day.
That included many impoverished Venezuelans without any family in the United States to pay for onward travel.
El Paso said it was working closely with those cities it was sending people to, and that migrants were boarding its chartered buses voluntarily.
However, a spokesman for the New York City mayor said El Paso’s coordination could be better.
El Paso has been informing New York when a bus of migrants is being sent.
But the New York spokesman said officials should discuss beforehand whether the bus needs to go to New York.