Since April, thousands of migrants have arrived by bus in New York City and Washington, D.C., sent north by Republican governors in Texas and Arizona as a political gambit to blame Democrats for the migrants’ presence in the U.S.. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have spent millions of dollars transporting the migrants to the liberal cities to protest President Biden’s intention to roll back some pandemic-era border restrictions and Democratic immigration policies generally, Stateline reports.
Increasingly, migrants are hopping off the buses before reaching Washington and New York, which are too expensive to settle in for many migrants who don’t have friends or family in those cities.
Instead, they are disembarking in red states along the route, where the cost of living is much lower — but where their presence has generated opposition from some state and local officials. Both Arizona and Texas offer asylum seekers voluntary bus rides as they are released with permission to travel and pursue their asylum claims after screenings by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, who determine they’re not a security threat and don’t qualify for programs that force some asylum seekers to wait south of the border. Migrants have disembarked in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee in recent weeks, and some of the buses arriving in New York and Washington have been nearly empty, though local charities say they’re still helping dozens of arriving migrants almost daily, McClatchy Newspapers reports. About twenty percent of migrants bused by Arizona have final destinations in Florida.