The depot temporarily left dozens of migrants – some of them carrying belongings in trash bags – standing on sidewalks and grass Thursday morning outside the closed US Naval Observatory in Washington as volunteers rushed to make arrangements for them.
“Vice President Harris says our border is ‘secure’ and denies crisis,” Abbott tweeted. “We are sending migrants to his backyard to ask the Biden administration to do its job and secure the border.”
Since Abbott began sending migrant buses to Washington in April, those buses have typically dropped them off around Union Station, and the volunteers were ready to receive two buses Thursday at the station, they said.
But Thursday’s buses instead stopped at the Naval Observatory, about four miles from the station.
SAMU First Response, one of the migrant aid groups in Washington, was not notified, according to the group’s chief executive, Tatiana Laborde.
“(The migrants) were physically and mentally tired from the trip, and they were also very nervous and anxious about disembarking,” volunteer Carla Bustillos told CNN.
Thursday’s passengers included families and young men. About 70-80% of migrants are from Venezuela, according to volunteers.
Some are trying to get to other places in the United States, such as Chicago and New York, but on Thursday they were waiting to be picked up and taken away for help, volunteers said. The migrants who arrived on Thursday were eventually transferred to a local church as they figured out where to go next.
It was not immediately clear whether Harris was at the residence when the migrants were dropped off. She had a morning event scheduled at the White House, about 2.5 miles away by car.
DC’s mayor has declared an emergency over arrivals this month
The United States grapples with a surge in the number of Venezuelan migrants
Migrants who are released from government custody are permitted to travel to the United States during their immigration process. The United States is grappling with an increase in Venezuelan migrants who have fled in large numbers from a deteriorating situation there.
The frosty relations between the United States and Venezuela prevent the United States from deporting certain people. Many Venezuelan migrants also seek asylum upon arrival in the United States.
Two medical situations involving Thursday’s passengers were reported: a diabetic who had not refrigerated his insulin for at least 40 hours, and a person with a rash believed to be from crossing the Rio Grande, which separates Texas and Mexico, volunteers said.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.