By: Rebecca Morin
Buses of migrants have been dropped off outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ house several times over the past couple of months.
But why was Christmas Eve so different?
The drop off came as much of the country was experiencing extreme cold weather.
Around 110 to 130 people in buses were dropped off outside Harris’ residence Saturday in temperatures hovering around 15 degrees Fahrenheit – making it one of the coldest Christmas Eves on record. Many of the people on the bus were not prepared for the weather, with some only wearing T-shirts.
Even thousands of miles away at the United States’ southern border, officials warned of frigid temperatures.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection ahead of the extreme temperatures urged migrants to not try and cross the border.
“Do not risk your life and that of your loved ones trying to cross the river or the desert,” Hugo Carmona, acting associate chief of U.S. Border Patrol Operations, said in a video statement. “Help avoid human death and tragedy. Stay home or remain in a safe shelter.”
When did migrants start getting bused from Texas?
In the spring, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would send buses with migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to major cities such as Washington, New York and Chicago.
Some other GOP governors, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also sent some buses from the border to other cities.
When the state-funded charter bus initiative first launched, Abbott’s offices said it was busing asylum-seekers to migrant-friendly “sanctuary cities” to protest President Joe Biden’s border policies and help alleviate the strain on Texas border cities absorbing the migrants.
Why drop off at Harris’ residence?
Beginning in September, Abbott began sending some buses to drop off asylum-seekers outside of the Naval Observatory, which is the vice president’s residence.
Abbott said he began sending buses there after an interview from Harris at the time where she said that the border was secure. Republicans and some Democrats have been critical over the Biden administration’s border policies.
Buses with asylum-seekers will likely continue to drop off migrants in cities such as New York and Washington.
There is an increase of migrants coming to the United States’ southern border ahead of a pandemic-era immigration policy was scheduled to be lifted. However, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration from lifting Title 42, which allows Customs and Border Protection to expel migrants without the usual legal review to Mexico or to their home countries to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in holding facilities.
The increase of migrants to the border has overwhelmed some Texas cities.
Just a couple of days ago, the El Paso City Council unanimously voted to extend its emergency declaration by at least 30 days because of a humanitarian crisis with migrants that has resulted in many sleeping in the streets of the city.