Gov. Abbott plans to use buses to move migrants away from border to Washington

Governor announces aggressive strategy to ‘secure border’ in light of plans to end border COVID restrictions

Soon after Gov. Greg Abbott's press conference on Wednesday, his office released more details about the plan to bus migrants away from the border that struck a notably softer tone.

SAN ANTONIO – President Biden’s plans to end Title 42, which blocks asylum claims and expels migrants due to COVID-19 contagious risk, is set to end on May 23.

The announcement has Texas Gov. Greg Abbott anticipating a mass migration, as Abbott on Wednesday in a press conference announced aggressive actions along with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Department of Emergency Management, and the Texas Department of Military.

Boat blockades, container and razor wire at low-water crossings, enhanced vehicle inspections along the border and even bus transportation will take processed and released migrants to Washington D.C. in an effort to alleviate stress on the system in Texas.

The Texas Department of Emergency Management is in charge of the transportation.

“In past disasters we have pulled up to 900 buses for operations to do evacuations. We will use as many buses as we need to follow the Governor’s direction to get this done,” said Nim Kidd, chief of Texas Department of Emergency Management said.

According to Kidd, his team will be ready to carry out part of the plan Thursday morning as they’ve already coordinated with local authorities and ordered resources. Although where busses will be picking migrants up from before heading to Washington D.C. is dependent on county judges and mayors, who will need to request the service from TDEM.

Migrants who go will have to volunteer to be taken, as it was not discussed during the press conference, but was outlined in a Governor’s office press release.

The Texas National Guard will also be conducting mass migration response rehearsals. Rehearsals start Thursday in the Rio Grande Valley, as Del Rio, Laredo, Eagle Pass, and Zapata rehearsals will be continued well into May, according to Gen. Thomas Suelzer, with the Texas National Guard.

“We’ll be prepared to hastily put out concertina wire and produce concertina holding areas,” Suelzer said.

On top of that, specially trained National Guard and state troopers will be given riot gear in case of caravan violence. And this is just the beginning, according to Abbott.

The governor said Thursday’s announcement was Stage 1 of his plan and that it will take at least two stages if not more. Further announcements are expected next week.

About the Author:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.