White House Changes Tone On Abbott Busing Illegal Immigrants To D.C.: ‘It’s Nice The State Of Texas Is Helping Them’
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki talks to reporters during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on April 06, 2022 in Washington, DC
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Less than a week after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to bus illegal immigrants to the nation’s capital was a “publicity stunt,” she now says the White House appreciates the governor’s action.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Psaki was asked if the White House still viewed Abbott’s decision to bus illegal immigrants to Washington, D.C., as a “publicity stunt.” She indicated that the administration has flipped on its view. 

“Well, these are all migrants who have been processed by CBP and are free to travel,” she replied. “So, it’s nice the state of Texas is helping them get to their final destination as they await in — their outcome of their immigration proceedings. And they’re all in immigration proceedings.”

The statement is in direct contrast to her claim last Thursday. “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, responding to a question from Fox News’ White House Correspondent Peter Doocy. “[Abbott’s] own office admits that a migrant would need to voluntarily be transported, and then he can​’t​compel them to because​​ again, enforcement of our country’s immigration laws lies with the federal government and not a state​.”

On Thursday, a second bus dropped off illegal immigrants in D.C. from Texas after the first bus arrived Wednesday, according to The Center Square. 

The Daily Wire previously reported that Abbott slammed the Biden administration on Monday for its “lackluster leadership” at the southern border. “Texans demand and deserve an aggressive, comprehensive strategy to secure our border—not President Biden’s lackluster leadership,” the governor said.

His comments came as the Biden administration mulls ending Title 42, a Trump-era border policy that allowed Border Patrol to more rapidly expel illegal immigrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Sunday, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick also criticized the White House and swore to protect the rule of law in remarks on “Fox and Friends,” The Daily Wire reported. “You’re seeing the first step in a constitutional showdown between the governor and the legislature and the state of Texas and the federal government,” Patrick said of his state’s decision to bus illegal immigrants to D.C. 

He then went on to respond to Psaki’s criticism of the state’s action. “Let me tell you what our authority and power is,” Patrick said. “We have an oath to defend the constitution of Texas and the United States of America and to protect the lives and welfare of our citizens.”

Patrick also told the “Fox and Friends” hosts that he wanted someone to ask Psaki a simple question. “I wish someone would ask Jen Psaki on Monday, ‘By the way, why don’t you just welcome [illegal immigrants] to D.C.? If it’s good enough that they can go to any city in the country, what’s wrong, Jen? Why don’t you just welcome them? … Don’t you like illegal immigrants, Jen?’”

While Psaki never acknowledged the Patrick’s remarks, her change of tone from last week has given Patrick an answer to his question, as the White House seems to be welcoming the buses of illegal immigrants to their backyard. 

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