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Migrants await a bus going north in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Migrants await a bus going north in Eagle Pass, Texas. Photo: Nick Wagner/Xinhua via Getty Images.

Abbott says Texas has sent 300 buses north since Operation Lone Star launch

The Texas governor confirmed in a tweet last Thursday that the 300th bus with migrants was on its way to Chicago.

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted last Thursday night, Nov. 10, that the 300th bus with migrants was on its way to Chicago. A part of Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, the migrant transportation scheme has been adopted by other GOP officials like Florida and Arizona governors Ron DeSantis and Doug Ducey. 

“The 300th Texas bus of migrants just left for Chicago. As Biden does nothing, Texas will continue taking unprecedented action to relieve our overwhelmed border communities & secure the border,” Abbott tweeted. 

This has resulted in over tens of thousands of migrants being sent to Democratic urban hubs like Chicago, New York, and D.C., since the Spring. Most recently, Philadelphia is now bracing for its first bus of migrants from Texas this week. 

A reported more than $12 million have been spent to bus the migrants out of the Lone Star state. 

Texas has also transported neary 8,300 migrants to Washington D.C. since April, over 3,700 migrants to New York City since August, and more than 1,200 migrants to Chicago since late August. According to Abbott, the scheme is providing “much-needed relief” to some of the border communities along the Texas and Mexico border. 

Operation Lone Star, which was announced this past March, is not only based on trafficking migrants, but also combating the drug trade at the border. Abbott said this past October that more than 336 million lethal doses of fentanyl had been seized since the operation's inception. 

According to Abbott’s official website, the operation has led to over 323,000 migrant apprehensions, with roughly 21,600 criminal arrests, and more than 19,200 felony charges. 

He added that more than 64,000 illegal immigrants evaded Border Patrol, with 205,000 being arrested and detained. 

Over this past weekend, news broke that Philadelphia was expected to be the next major city to receive a bus with migrants. Earlier in the year, Philly was expected to be one of the targets, and the local government had already begun preparing, but no official word had come until now. Dozens of migrants are reportedly coming from Del Rio, Texas. 

Philly Mayor Jim Kenney said this past Sunday that the city is ready and prepared for whenever the bus should arrive, but the timeline is still uncertain. 

“We were getting information from various advocacy sources that they were on their way, but we don’t know whether or not they’ve actually left,” Kenney said. “It’s like a 36-40 hour bus trip, so they could be coming any time tomorrow, Tuesday — but whatever day they come, we’ll welcome them with open arms.” 

City officials along with 12 partner organizations met on Saturday to prepare and have a plan in place and a helping hand that would include providing shelter, food and clothing.

“We do not have an exact location of where the bus will disembark, nor do we have any specific information about those on board, nor do we know if other buses are planned,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. 

Steven Larin of the Nationalities Service Center said migrants are able to apply for work permits five to six months after arriving in the country, but as a result of the bus coming as early as midweek, the organization is looking to speed up the process. 

The city said that neither Texas nor Abbott had given them a warning that this would be happening. Kenney’s office first learned about it from a community partner. They called the non-warning “disappointing and irresponsible.” 

Despite the situation, Mayor Kenney and his office said Philly is ready to “welcome, assist, and provide support to these individuals and their families if and when the bus arrives.” 

“We are a proud welcoming city and strongly believe that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” the administration said. “Our diversity is our strength.”

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