A bus from Texas dropped off about 50 migrants outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., on Thursday for the second time this week.
Many of the migrants — which include men, women and children — told NBC News that they came from Venezuela. They were seen carrying small white bags with their only possessions.
A young man named Victor said that he came through “the jungle” before arriving in Texas, and that he was given food on the bus and was treated “very well.” He said he does not have a final destination in mind, but is seeking a job. A majority of the migrants on the bus told NBC News that they planned to go elsewhere as well.
Volunteers from SAMU First Response, an international humanitarian nonprofit, were on hand to assist the migrants.
Busloads of migrants began arriving in liberal strongholds without warning earlier this year as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, both of whom are Republicans running for re-election, have sought to use the tactic to call attention to what they say are the Biden administration's failed border policies. Thousands of migrants have since arrived in New York, Washington, Chicago and beyond, sending officials in those cities scrambling to provide a system of support services to them.
Abbott, who also sent two buses of migrants to Harris' neighborhood last month, started the migrant busing program to so-called sanctuary cities and was mimicked by DeSantis, who chartered two planes carrying about 50 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a few weeks ago. Migrants who were part of the trip have filed a class-action lawsuit against DeSantis and other state officials, alleging they were victims of fraud for political purposes.
Democratic governors whose states are affected by the tactic have condemned Abbott and DeSantis for their actions. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an emergency declaration last month to grapple with nearly 500 immigrants bused to Chicago by Abbott, mobilizing the state’s National Guard after he stood before the media to call Abbott’s actions “disgusting.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom also called for the Justice Department to investigate DeSantis and Abbott for their actions.