Texas has spent $2.9 million to transport 1,778 illegal migrants from the Lone Star State to Washington, D.C., according to documents produced by the state Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott instructed TDEM in April to begin chartering buses to move apprehended illegal immigrants from Texas to locations near the Capitol complex or White House in Washington.
Abbott later announced a plan to crowdfund the bus charters in order to defray costs incurred by taxpayers. He made that change after some Republicans criticized the initial use of state taxpayer funds. Some Democrats also praised Abbott for using public funds to move the migrants to Washington.
Abbott issued a press statement at the time the first bus carrying 24 illegal migrants arrived in Washington. He said at the time that the state government was remaining “steadfast in our efforts to fill in the gaps and keep Texans safe.” He said that Texans should not be required to “bear the burden of the Biden Administration’s failure to secure our border.”
TDEM records obtained through a public records request indicate that a total of 61 bus trips were chartered between April 11 and June 7, with the total cost working out to be about $1,600 per passenger.
Reporters indicated that first-class airfare in June from San Antonio to Washington on the major airlines ran less than $1,200. A Greyhound bus ticket or Amtrak train fare for the same route currently runs around $300.
The buses that have made the trips from Texas to D.C. have carried as few as nine people on one trip.
A large part of the expense incurred in making the trips has come from security costs. Those expenses alone have run to more than $1 million. The state has also had to pay for drivers, GPS tracking, and other related expenses.
The governor’s Press Secretary Renae Eze said the charter bus transports have helped residents of the state. She said that Biden’s “dangerous open border policies overrun border communities with a historic level of migrants from over 155 countries flooding into our state.” She added that the Biden administration has slowed the “dumping” of illegals, which she said was unintentionally working to provide relief to border communities.
The press secretary added that the private crowdfunding program has raised more than $112,000 to offset costs to taxpayers.