WASHINGTON — Lever Alejos ran out of money and out of options when he arrived in southern Texas last month, after a 1,300-mile journey from Venezuela that culminated by crossing the Rio Grande in water up to his chin. Soon the Border Patrol arrested him, and upon his release he was offered a choice: a $50 bus trip to San Antonio, or a free bus trip to Washington, D.C., paid from Texas.
said mr. Alejos, 28, has no family in the United States. “I got on the bus to Washington.”
A few days later, he arrived in the country’s capital in the midst of a bus full of exhausted immigrants. He spent the first night in the yard across from Union Station, but eventually found a bed at Central Union Mission, where he hopes to stay until he can apply for asylum, get a work permit, and find a job — a process that can take months.
A political tactic by the governors of Texas and Arizona to do away with problems caused by record levels of border immigration is beginning to make a comeback in Washington, where hundreds of illegal immigrants arrive on governors’ free bus trips each week adding a tax to the capital. Capacity to provide emergency food and housing.
With no money and no family to take them in, immigrants make up an overwhelming majority of nonprofits and other volunteer groups, and many end up in homeless shelters or on park benches. Five buses arrived in one recent day, spilling out young people and families with no place to go to the streets near the Capitol.
Since April, Texas has delivered more than 6,200 immigrants to the nation’s capital, and Arizona has sent an additional 1,000 immigrants since May. Flow payment, Muriel E. Bowser, the top Democrat in Washington, to ask the Department of Defense to send in the National Guard. The request informed the organizations that were helping the immigrants without any support from the city.
The vast majority of the new bus passengers are Venezuelans fleeing their crisis-ridden country, many of whom have also arrived in New York, often via Washington. New York City Major Eric Adams announced emergency measures Monday to enable the city to quickly build additional shelter capacity. The mayor, who is also a Democrat, said the city has received 4,000 asylum seekers since May, leading to a 10 percent increase in the homeless population, with about 100 new arrivals arriving each day.
Venezuelans appeared daily at the offices of the Catholic charities of the Archdiocese of New York asking for help. “Their main concern was a place to stay, and food for their children,” said Marian Thrapelle, who manages the organization’s migrant and refugee services.
“The infrastructure in New York is not built for this,” she said. “We are not at the border.”
Government. Greg Abbott of Texas is the state’s governor. Doug Ducey of Arizona, both Republicans, blamed President Biden for record numbers of immigrants crossing the southern border.
At times, cities along the border in Texas and Arizona have been crammed with an increase in unauthorized border crossings that culminated under the Biden administration, which has sought to undo some of the harsh border restrictions imposed by former President Donald J. Trump.
While thousands of migrants have been quickly expelled under a pandemic health order known as Title 42, thousands more are allowed into the country to pursue asylum applications because they cannot be returned to Mexico or their home countries.
State officials in Texas and Arizona have taken in many immigrants after their release from US border guards, offering them free bus trips to Washington in an effort to force the federal government to take responsibility for what they say is a failed immigration system.
After reaching their destinations, migrants may remain in the country for months or even years while battling deportation cases in court; They are allowed to work while asylum applications are being processed.
The situation has become acute in recent weeks with the arrival of many Venezuelans, who cannot be expelled under Title 42 because Mexico will not take them and their government has no agreement with the United States to accept deportation flights. And unlike most immigrants from Mexico and Central America who have family and friends in the United States, Venezuelans often arrive with no money and nowhere to go.
Border guards encountered 110,467 Venezuelans along the southern border in the first nine months of this fiscal year, compared to 47,408 in the entire 2021 fiscal year. The total number of unauthorized crossings decreased with the arrival of hot summer temperatures.
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This situation has led to recriminations with the big Democratic corporations on the East Coast in recent weeks. In the latest barrage, on Monday, Mr. Abbott sent a letter to the majors, Mr. Adams and Mrs. Bowser, and invited them to tour the “terrible situation” on the border with Mexico.
“Your recent interest in this historic and preventable crisis is a welcome development – especially since the President and his administration have shown neither remorse for their actions nor a desire to remedy the situation themselves,” El-Sayed said. Abbott Books.
Fabian Levy, New York Mayor’s press secretary, made this statement: “Instead of taking a picture at the border, we hope Governor Abbott will focus his energy and resources on providing support and resources to asylum seekers in Texas as we have been hard pressed to work in New York City.”
The Texas governor and mayors agree on one point: The three are calling on the federal government to act.
“The immigrant crisis facing our city and country must be dealt with by the ruthless statesmanship of the governors of Texas and Arizona at the federal level.” Bowser wrote in a letter to White House officials.
When ordering a processing center in DC Armory and activating the National Guard, she said the number of immigrants had reached a “tipping point” that had “overwhelmed” the area’s ability to handle them.
Ms. Power’s request sparked a rebuke from immigrant advocates who said she ignored repeated requests for a place to shelter, a rest center and a rapid coronavirus screening of immigrants, among other things.
“The last thing we want is a military response to a humanitarian crisis,” said Andrea Sheriff, a core organization in the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, a coalition of grassroots groups.
Noting that Washington is a haven city for immigrants, she said, “We must meet the housing needs of everyone.”
The Biden administration said it has been in contact with Mayor Bowser, but Karen Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said governors are using immigrants as a “political tool” for their own ends.
There is a process in place for managing migrants at the border. That’s not the case, she said, adding that the department continues to expel some immigrants, place others in detention, and release eligible sponsors of local nonprofits “pending processing.”
About 15 religious and community groups in Washington have opened their doors to immigrants, providing them with meals, showers, and toiletries during daylight hours. But the increase in the frequency of buses, from two to four a day to eight at times, has led to an exhaustion of donations and capacity overrun, and many volunteers contracted Covid-19, the woman said. Sheriff.
“Mayors were playing into the hands of Republican governors,” said Adam Isaacson, a researcher in the Washington Office of Latin America who studies the frontier.
“Of course they are making a fuss about the arrivals because those who need shelter are a burden on social services in their cities,” he said. But he said the “thrust of their comments” gives governors ammunition to press for a crackdown on immigration, including measures such as erecting border walls and repealing asylum.
On a recent night, volunteers and staff from SAMU First Response, an international aid organization that received some funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and began operating in Washington in late June, greeted migrants disembarking from three buses.
They got water, pizza, and granola bars, and some even got tickets to keep traveling. By 1 a.m., most of them had settled for the night on the marble floor of the East Hall of Union Station. Others from earlier buses were forced to sleep on the streets. It has created an unusual painting: uninhabited Americans on one side of the square; On the other hand, immigrants play with their meager possessions on the floor – all within sight of the Capitol.
Tatiana Laborde, SAMU’s managing director, said her organization had enough money to buy tickets to other destinations for about a third of the migrants it was providing services to. She said the group’s shelter in Montgomery County, Maryland, was unable to provide long-term housing.
Ten city council members sent a letter to the Washington carrier, urging it not only to seek federal help, but also release emergency funds and recruit staff to help immigrants, as well as provide Covid testing, isolation hotels and other resources.
“This is a crisis created by Republican leaders in other states, and yet, unfortunately, it is the responsibility of the Major to allocate resources locally,” said Brian Nadeau, the council member who prepared the letter.
Many Venezuelans said they made the trip to the United States because they thought the country’s doors were open.
“On TikTok we saw that people are easily entering the United States,” said Jennifer Ortiz, who made the trip with her partner Luis Moreno and their 5-year-old daughter Sophia.
Their journey to the United States took 45 days, including nine days they crossed the perilous jungle on the Colombia-Panama border known as Darren Gap, Mr. Moreno said.
By the time they reached Texas, they had no money and were happy to board a free bus to Washington. “They told us that here, there will be people to greet us and help us,” Mrs. Ortiz said.
When their bus stopped at about 8 a.m. on a recent day, volunteers directed them to a church-run rest center, where they showered and received a fresh change of clothes. They said they spent their first night on park benches, and since then have cycled between Americans’ homes.
Juan Rojas, 22, said that when he and a friend arrived in Washington, they were sent to a shelter in the city that housed most Americans, where they felt unwelcome.
“Men were yelling at us,” he said, “and we couldn’t understand a single word.” “It was clear they didn’t want us there.” He said the couple left after two nights and spent a week sleeping on the streets.
In recent days, said Mr. They were hosted by a “woman helping immigrants” some nights and in hotels arranged by volunteers on other nights, Rojas said. He said he had not yet surrendered to America after his epic.
But he was not optimistic. “In Texas, they told us we were here, we were going to get help with housing, work and everything else we needed,” he said. “It was all a lie.”