Washington, D.C., and New York City can handle a few busloads of migrants if small border towns could endure hundreds – or thousands – of migrants every day, the mayor of McAllen, Texas, told Fox News.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Washington, D.C, Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for busing hundreds of migrants from his state’s border to their northern cities.
Adams called Abbott’s busing program “inhumane,” while Bowser likened the arrival of migrants to a “humanitarian crisis.”
“You see New York, you see Washington kind of drowning with a few buses,” McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos told Fox News. “We used to get over a thousand-something people a day.”
“The city of McAllen was able to deal with thousands of immigrants a day,” Villalobos said. “I think they can handle a few hundred.”
McAllen dealt with record immigration in 2021, managing over 130,000 new arrivals between February and November, according to city data. Villalobos said that McAllen sees about 100 crossings a day.
Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management in April to begin transporting illegal immigrants released from federal custody in Texas to Washington, D.C., and other locations outside the Lone Star State. Villalobos said he initially wondered if Abbott had authority to bus migrants out of state.
“When I found out that it was voluntary, well, that’s great, because that’s the ultimate destination that these individuals want to go anyway,” McAllen said. “So if it’s being provided, as the state of Texas explains, well, they’re a little bit lucky in a sense, and it’s fortunate for us that we can transport them out even sooner.”
New York City is an ideal destination for migrants since they “can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city,” Abbott said in a statement. “I hope he follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief.”
The lone star state has transported over 6,800 migrants to Washington, D.C, since April and over 360 migrants to New York City since last week, according to the governor’s office. In comparison, the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen saw over 1,500 new migrant arrivals for several days in early late July and early August 2021, according to a city report.
Villalobos said migration has become a political game between Democrats and Republicans.
“The other thing that I think is very important is that they keep on urging Washington, and I mean the president, the Senate, the Congress, to finally, finally take care of the issues instead of just making it a political football, kicking it back and forth,” he told Fox News.
Over 2 million migrant encounters have been recorded since October 2021, the highest number of enforcement actions ever recorded, according to Customs and Border Protection.
Still, there likely won’t be any changes to immigration policy this year due to the midterms, Villalobos said.
The mayor also told Fox News he’s concerned about terrorists captured while attempting to cross the border. Since October 2021, there have been 110 migrants encountered at the southern border who are on the terrorist screening dataset, also known as the terrorist watchlist, according to CBP.
“People were caught that were on the terrorist watch list—how many others were not?” Villalobos said. “We’re talking about thousands of the thousands of people that are not caught.”
“It’s a more national issue,” Villalobos told Fox News. “And now people are seeing it.”