White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday dismissed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) vow to bus migrants who illegally cross the southern border to Washington, D.C., as a “publicity stunt.”
“I’m not aware of what authority the governor would be doing that under. I think it’s pretty clear this is a publicity stunt,” Psaki said when asked about the threat during a press briefing.
“His own office admits that a migrant would need to voluntarily be transported, and he can’t compel them to because, again, enforcement of our country’s immigration laws lies with the federal government, not a state,” Psaki added.
Abbott on Wednesday said his state would bus and fly undocumented immigrants who cross into Texas to the nation’s capital, in response to the Biden administration’s move to wind down Title 42, a health order that has allowed the government to turn away nearly 2 million migrants because of pandemic concerns.
“We are sending them to the United States capital 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,” Abbott said at a Wednesday press conference.
The Biden administration last week rescinded Title 42, effective May 23.
The move comes after years of pressure from within President Biden’s own party and frustration from immigration advocates who had pressed to end a policy they viewed as illegal and cruel to those fleeing persecution and danger.
But it has also been a point of contention among Republicans and some moderate Democrats who have argued the U.S. will see a flood of migrants pour into the country.