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'Texas isn't going to tolerate it anymore': Abbott buses first two groups of migrants to Washington, DC

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to charter buses to take migrants from Texas to the nation's capital.

The first group of migrants was taken to the nation's capital Wednesday as part of Texas Governor Greg Abbott's border plans. And a second group arrived Thursday morning.

Abbott says he's bringing the Texas migrant crisis to leaders in Washington, D.C.

This is in response to President Biden ending Title 42, a policy that allows migrants to be expelled from the U.S. quickly due to COVID concerns. Title 42 is set to stop next month.

RELATED: Gov. Greg Abbott changes policy, eases state inspections at one commercial border bridge

Thirty-eight migrants were brought to the country's capital between the two buses, coming from Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. 

"The goal all along has been to ensure that people understood the consequences of an open border and that Texas isn't going to tolerate it anymore," said Governor Abbott in a press conference Wednesday.

Last week, Governor Greg Abbott, directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to charter buses to take migrants from Texas to the nation's capital.

Wednesday, the migrant passengers were dropped off between Union Station and the U.S. Capitol.

RELATED: First bus of migrants from Texas border arrives in Washington D.C.

"[The Biden administration] refuse[s] to come down and see firsthand and talk to the people who are really most adversely affected," said Abbott. "If they're not gonna come to the border, then I'm gonna take the border to them in Washington, D.C."

In a commissioner's court meeting Tuesday in Val Verde County, Judge Lewis Owens said he was told each bus can hold 40 passengers. He said 24 migrants were on the first bus, and all go voluntarily. Each person signs a consent letter before getting on board, he said.

"It does scare me though that now if you have people wanting to go that way, now they know you can come to Del Rio and we're gonna get you on a bus," said Owens. "The buses are a good idea if we're not the ones holding their hand to help them get on the bus."

Credit: KENS

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) calls the move a political stunt, as border security remains a hot issue in the November election.

"They went to the closest place which was in front of the media to let the media know that that bus from Texas with volunteers that wanted a free bus ride are there in Washington, DC.," said Cuellar. "[Abbott] said, 'I'm gonna stop drugs'. He's failed at that. He said, 'I'm gonna stop the migrants from coming across in those 18 wheelers'. He's failed at that. He needs to work with us."

Catholic Charities, who is helping the migrant families in D.C., told KENS 5's sister station WUSA that the migrants are waiting for their day in immigration court. They will likely ask for asylum and they are required to check with authorities weekly.

Credit: KENS

"If you come here and you happen to be an immigrant or you happen to be a poor person, happen to be someone who needs food, we try to say yes," said a priest from Catholic Charities to WUSA.

Officials in Del Rio tell KENS 5 the Texas Division of Emergency Management has a contract with the city to rent space as a staging area for migrants who sign up for a ride to D.C.

As of Wednesday, Eagle Pass and Hidalgo County don't have plans in place. McAllen officials say they haven't seen enough interest for the buses. Meanwhile, Laredo mayor Pete Saenz told Abbott that this issue stays between the governor and the migrants.

If Title 42 is lifted in May, officials say the migrant crossings are expected to spike even more.

"President Biden must assert the national security priority that comes with being the Commander in Chief of the United States," said Abbott. "Until then, Texas will use its own strategies to secure the border."

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