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Migrants optimistic about transfer to nation's capital from Texas border

​​​​​​​While the Texas governor claims that this plan is part of his offensive to combat undocumented immigration, the bus occupants see it as one more aid in their journey "north”

April 27, 2022 2:13pm

Updated: April 28, 2022 6:48am

Victor Rodríguez, a 26-year-old Venezuelan migrant, thanked Texas Governor Greg Abbott for providing him with a free trip to Washington, D.C.

"I thank him from the bottom of my heart because I was able to do it safe and sound and, what's better, with a good service and at no cost. I consider it a true humanitarian aid," Rodriguez told The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.

The Venezuelan traveled with 18 other migrants from the southern border of Texas as part of Abbott's campaign to protest the policies of Joe Biden's administration.

"I think what the governor is doing is a great help, because it allows migrants who don't have money, like me, to reach or get closer to our destination," he added after a 30-hour bus ride.

To curb the influx of undocumented immigrants, Abbott announced on April 6 that Texas would begin busing undocumented immigrants released from detention centers in Texas to Washington, D.C. The first bus arrived on April 12.

As of the 21st of this month, 10 buses have arrived in the U.S. capital.

Abbott claims that this plan is part of his offensive to combat undocumented immigration. However, those being transported to the capital do not see this measure as a punishment but as a further aid in their journey "north."

Victor, for example, saved $231 on a commercial bus ticket to DC. In addition, he traveled non-stop, saving at least 18 hours and up to three transfers to reach his destination.

"I didn't expect the trip to Washington because on my way there I never heard of them offering free rides. It's favorable because tickets like that are expensive," the 26-year-old added.

Without belongings or money, Rodriguez was captured by Border Patrol agents on April 18 after crossing the Rio Grande River, 35 days after leaving Venezuela.

His journey began in Carora, a town 500 kilometers west of Caracas, where he said he struggled to make ends meet working as an English teacher and intermittent construction jobs.

Faced with the responsibility of supporting two children in an unstable economy, he decided to try his luck in the United States. To get there, he crossed Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. On the way, he almost drowned in the Bravo River.

study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) found that the number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States increased by approximately one million during the first year of the Biden administration.

The group also released a fiscal cost study, claiming that undocumented migrants cost U.S. taxpayers at least $143.1 billion, an increase of $9.4 billion from 2020.