Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sent a bus of migrants to Washington, DC, in a rebuke of President Joe Biden's border policies.
The migrants arrived in Washington, DC, on Wednesday morning amid the intensifying immigration fight between Republicans and the Democratic president.
The migrants, who were from Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, had been encountered at the border and released in Texas by federal border officials, Abbott's office said.
After being released, the migrants said they were offered a voluntary bus ride to DC. The bus parked outside of the building near the US Capitol.
"By busing migrants to Washington, DC, the Biden administration will be able to more immediately meet the needs of the people they are allowing to cross our border," said Abbott, a Republican.
"Texas should not have to bear the burden of the Biden administration's failure to secure our border," added the governor, who is a harsh critic of the Biden administration's immigration policies.
The Biden administration had earlier described the move as a “publicity stunt.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to mock Abbott’s intentions, saying, “These are all migrants who have been processed by CBP [Customs and Border Protection] and are free to travel, so, it’s nice that the state of Texas is helping them get to their final destination.”
Abbott announced the initiative in response to the planned removal of the Title 42 public health authority next month. The Biden administration had rescinded Title 42, effective May 23.
Former president Donald Trump implemented the order at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. His administration claimed the order was to help prevent the spread of the virus across the US' borders with Mexico and Canada.
However, health experts, immigrant rights advocates and leading Democrats argue that scientific evidence does not support its stated goal of helping to stop the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, the White House has also lambasted Abbott over the enhanced truck inspections he ordered last week.
Psaki said the measure has snarled truck traffic from Mexico, resulting in higher prices.
"Governor Abbott’s unnecessary and redundant inspections of trucks transiting ports of entry between Texas and Mexico are causing significant disruptions to the food and automobile supply chains, delaying manufacturing, impacting jobs, and raising prices for families in Texas and across the country," Psaki said.