A page attached to the Office of the Governor website allows people to donate to Border Transportation Funding, which has already received almost $64,000 as of April 28. This is the same page where people can also donate to the Texas Border Wall, which has received $55,310,296 as of April 28.
Abbott’s office did not respond to multiple questions from the Texas Tribune about the policy, including why the governor is now asking for private donations, if the plan will be partially or solely funded by private donations and how much the busing program has cost so far. Abbott has also not disclosed how much state funding has already been used toward the trips.
In a statement to the Tribune, Abbott's press secretary Renae Eze said the idea to crowdsource came after Abbott’s office received calls from supporters wanting to contribute. Abbott’s office has said at least 10 buses have arrived in the nation’s capital.
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In early April, Abbott announced the charter bus program along with other directives to state agencies as part of Texas's border security efforts. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) was directed to charter buses to transport migrants "who have been processed and released from federal custody to Washington D.C.", says the Texas Tribune.
To board, a migrant must volunteer to be transported and show documentation from DHS. Texas cities and counties where the federal government drops off migrants seeking to stay in the country must also request the transport, says the Tribune.
In a statement, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said Abbott is making CBP officials’ jobs more difficult by transporting migrants far from their immigration proceedings and not coordinating those moves with the federal government.
Abbott's directives came after the CDC announced that it would be ending a policy that limited asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent the spread of COVID-19, also known as Title 42. The change will not be taking effect until May 23.
The Texas Tribune contributed to this report.