McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — More than 150 faith-based leaders are asking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to stop busing migrants and end the state’s strict border security methods.
The coalition, which included leaders of faiths across multiple denominations and from throughout the country, sent Abbott a letter Monday calling on Texas “to lead by example” and to improve the treatment of migrants apprehended at the border.
“Election season is over. You will soon be sworn in for a third term. Now is the time to work toward actual solutions rather than penalizing your fellow human beings who are stuck in untenable circumstances,” they wrote. “We’re calling on you as a man of faith to reconsider your actions, and instead remember our shared values as people who answer to a higher power. We may differ on the finer points, but we do agree that life is sacred and precious. Every person that crosses the border into our country deserves to be treated with dignity.”
Putting migrants on buses to cities outside Texas, such as New York, Chicago and Philadelphia “is putting people in danger,” they wrote.
Abbott initiated Operation Lone Star last year and the state has so far bused over 14,500 migrants. This includes 8,600 migrants bused to Washington, D.C., 4,200 sent to New York City; 1,400 sent to Chicago and 380 bused to Philadelphia since they added that city as a destination last month.
“Operation Lone Star continues to fill the dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border,” Abbott’s office said in a statement Friday.
Part of that has involved the state spending millions of dollars to build a border wall on private land in Starr County, in rural South Texas, which Abbott said will be continuing in January.
The faith-based leaders asked Abbott to take a more compassionate view of migrants “and end this inhumane practice and find a better path forward.”
The religious leaders admitted they themselves do not have a single solution to end what they call a “crisis” on the border. But they urge Abbott, a Republican, to “use your powerful voice to work across the aisle, so that the federal government can finally create an asylum system that is orderly and protects people’s fundamental right to seek asylum when their lives are threatened.”
Rather than wind down, Texas is planning to “ramp up” border strategies as Title 42 is set to expire on Wednesday.
In a statement Friday, Abbott said the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard will continue to work together to secure the border and curtail the smuggling of drugs and weapons from Mexico.
Texas on Monday joined 18 states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to delay the lifting of Title 42 saying the border will be overwhelmed with migrants crossing from Mexico.
On Monday evening Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary stay preventing Title 42 from being lifted later this week. The high court also asked the Biden administration to respond by 5 p.m. to the application that the coalition of states filed.
A federal judge on Friday refused to delay the expiring of this public health law that was implemented in March 2020 by the Trump administration to help prevent the spread of coronavirus between borders.