When the first bus carrying illegal migrants from Texas arrived in the District of Columbia on April 13, an official of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said those who had no family to pick them up would be “put on a train” to Florida, according to a newly surfaced email.
The Oversight Project, an investigative arm of conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, obtained the email from the D.C. government via a Freedom of Information Act request regarding its response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s initiative to bus illegal immigrants apprehended at the nation’s southern border to the nation’s capital.
Abbott launched the border bus mission in April to give the Washington community a taste of what has been experienced by Texas border towns as a result of the Biden administration’s border policy. He pledged to send cooperating migrants to the U.S. Capitol, where “the Biden administration will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border.”
In the email dated April 13, a FEMA official told a group of Washington health officials that Abbott “made good on his promise” to drop migrants off on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building.
The FEMA official appears to be disappointed that the Texas Division of Emergency Management, which was tasked to arrange the buses, didn’t keep its Washington counterpart informed of the buses’ whereabouts.
“DC was in contact with Texas EM [Emergency Management] and they said they would alert DC when a bus was leaving and provide a manifest. They did not do that,” the official writes.
The official goes on to describe a plan to rely on Catholic Charities of Arlington, Virginia, for support, although the religious charity network indicated that they didn’t have “a huge bandwidth” if buses kept coming from Texas. The official also said that FEMA has held meetings with Washington officials, Customs and Border Protection, non-governmental organizations from the border towns, and border town officials for advice on how to handle the situation.
“For this first drop, some were picked up by family members and the rest will be put on a train to Miami,” the email states.
The message was relayed by Patrick Ashley, senior deputy director of the D.C. Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Administration, and was introduced as “a quick update from FEMA.”
Some illegal immigrants who voluntarily accepted the one-way bus ticket to Washington told news outlets they wouldn’t be staying there. A young man from Venezuela, who was among the very first batch of arrivals, told Newsmax that his final destination was Miami.
The Daily Beast spoke to the same group of people and reported that they were planning to travel either to New York or Miami, with the help of Catholic Charities.
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