The Democrat mayor of El Paso defended his city’s policy of busing migrants 2,200 miles northeast to New York City, saying the beleaguered West Texas city is just trying to help them get to their ultimate destination.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Mayor Oscar Leeser said the migrants are being treated humanely, even though Republican leaders, including Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX), have been criticized by Democrats for exporting them to blue states and liberal cities. Leeser said as many as 2,000 illegal immigrants are flooding into his city daily.
“The people are not coming to El Paso, they’re coming to America,” said Leeser, who served as mayor from 2013-2017 and was re-elected last year. “We don’t send anyone where they don’t want to go. We make sure we help them.
“We put them on buses with food and make sure they get to their destination and make sure that we always continue to greet and treat people like human beings,” he added.
Democrat El Paso, Texas Mayor Oscar Leeser says between 1,500 and 2,000 illegal immigrants flood into the city EVERY DAY — and "the numbers have been continuing to increase." pic.twitter.com/1kvEqUjO46
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 18, 2022
Abbott and fellow Republican governors Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Doug Ducey of Arizona, have been sending illegal immigrants and asylum seekers to blue cities and states to bring attention to the border problem. An estimated 2 million migrants have flooded into the country since President Joe Biden took office and repealed several major components of former President Donald Trump’s border security policies.
“President Biden’s inaction at our southern border continues putting the lives of Texans — and Americans — at risk and is overwhelming our communities,” Abbott said last month. “To continue providing much-needed relief to our small, overrun border towns, Chicago will join fellow sanctuary cities Washington, D.C., and New York City as an additional drop-off location.”
Abbott’s office said more than 7,700 migrants have been dropped off in Washington and more than 2,100 in New York since April. The state has spent an estimated $12 million chartering the buses.
Although Democrats have accused the GOP leaders of “human trafficking” for the practice, they have not criticized Leeser. Leeser and El Paso’s Democrat-controlled city council have sent nearly 30 buses full of migrants to New York in the last month and are seeking reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the costs.
Fox News reported that El Paso’s city council recently approved a 16-month, $2 million contract to continue busing migrants out of the city.
The Biden administration has been busing and flying migrants who are awaiting asylum or deportation hearings to locations around the country for more than a year, the Wall Street Journal noted Friday.
Last week, Regional Border Patrol Chief Gloria Chavez posted snapshots on Instagram showing as many as 1,000 migrants left to huddle under an El Paso bridge because federal officials are too stretched to process them.
“We’ve never seen anything like this,” Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), whose district covers part of the city, said. “It’s a scene that you would see in a third-world country, not in the streets of El Paso.”