Arizona followed Texas’s lead and became the second state to start busing processed migrants from the southern border to Washington D.C.
Southern border states have seen a surge in unlawful migrant crossings, with more than 220,000 recorded incidents in March alone, the biggest figure since 2000, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced on May 11, “With Arizona community resources under all-time demand, and little action or assistance from the federal government, individuals who entered Arizona seeking asylum have the opportunity to voluntarily be transported to Washington, D.C.”
The first bus from Arizona arrived in Washington D.C. that day with 20 processed migrants onboard.
This action mirrors a similar operation launched by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in April, where unlawful migrants and persons seeking asylum could secure free bus transportation to Washington D.C after being processed.
Since Gov. Abbott began the program, The Washington Times reported that Texas was averaging “a bus a day, with 32 loads so far, totaling 835 [processed] migrants”.
Governors Abbott and Ducey both claim border states are being overwhelmed by unlawful migration and that the Biden administration’s plan to end Title 42 restrictions will only make things worse.
Instituted in March 2020 by President Donald Trump’s administration, Title 42 was a public health order put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. It served as the legal basis for the speedy expulsion of unlawful migrants and denying entry to asylum seekers at the southern border.
Theresa Cardinal Brown, Managing Director of Immigration and Cross-Border Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told NPR in March that “more than half of [unlawful migrants and asylum seekers] encountered at the border in the last year were expelled under Title 42” and that the public health order was being used a “migration management tool” by both the Trump and Biden administrations.
State officials in the southern border states fear a repeal of Title 42 restrictions will lead to an even bigger influx of unlawful migrants and asylum seekers. This sentiment is not confined to the southwest, though.
More than 20 states have joined a lawsuit to prevent the Biden administration from ending Title 42. A temporary restraining order signed by a federal judge currently prohibits President Biden from ending the policy before May 23.