Volunteers Spring Into Action After Several Busloads of Migrants Were Dropped off in Freezing Temperatures

Asylum-seekers line up to be processed by US Customs and Border Patrol agents at a gap in the US-Mexico border fence near Somerton, Arizona
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Volunteers did what they could to help migrants feel welcomed, playing music in Spanish and aiding them with transportation.

This Christmas Eve, migrants being bussed from Texas were dropped off by the busload in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’ home in Washington D.C. 

The buses were set to drop the migrants off in New York but due to the weather they were instead brought to D.C., where they were met with freezing temperatures and volunteers ready to take them in, CNN reported. 

Despite the short notice, Amy Fischer from Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, one of the organizations helping the dropped-off migrants, said they had a church and synagogue ready to serve as respite sites, NPR reported. 

“We had volunteers ready to meet the buses and then immediately transfer onto buses that were provided by the city to transport them to a church that had volunteers, community, hot food, clothes waiting for people, toys for the kiddos,” said Fischer, according to NPR. 

“And then from there, we helped talk to everybody and help them on their way, whether it was helping with transportation for them to get to their final destination or providing ongoing support for those that are choosing to stay in D.C.”

Claudia Tristán, a co-organizer with the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid network, worked Christmas Eve to provide over 140 migrants with food, clothing, and shelter, Axios reported. 

Tristán and other volunteers did what they could to help the migrants feel welcomed, by playing Christmas music in Spanish and setting up a play area for all the toddlers that got dropped off by the buses, according to Axios.

“We’re an entire group that has been working since April. Yes it was Christmas Eve and yes it’s shocking and horrible but this is a regular occurrence,” Tristán told MSNBC. “The governor of Texas continues to drop them off at the Vice President's house instead of working with us and dropping them off at our respite centers.”

A spokesperson from Gov. Abbott's office made a statement that confirmed the migrants were sent by Abbott, but that they consented to going to D.C., Newsweek reported.

"These migrants willingly chose to go to Washington, D.C., having signed a voluntary consent waiver available in multiple languages upon boarding that they agreed on the destination,” the spokesperson said, according to Newsweek. “And they were processed and released by the federal government, who are dumping them at historic levels in Texas border towns like El Paso, which recently declared a state of emergency because of the Biden-made crisis.”

In September, Abbott said Texas will continue bussing migrants to "sanctuary cities,” such as Washington D.C., New York City, and Chicago until “President Biden and Border Czar Harris step up and do their jobs to secure the border."

Abbott claimed in a letter to Biden on Dec. 20 that the state was burdened with thousands of people entering Texas every day who risked freezing to death on city streets.

The White House has accused the governor of endangering lives.

"Governor Abbott abandoned children on the side of the road in below freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordinating with any Federal or local authorities," White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said according to Reuters.

"The political games accomplish nothing and only put lives in danger."

The busloads dropped off on Christmas Eve aren’t the first of their kind. According to Gov. Greg Abbott, since April, Texas has bussed over 8,700 migrants to D.C, 4,500 to New York City, 1,500 to Chicago, and 530 to Philadelphia. 

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