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Texas Buses Off 90 Migrants to Philadelphia

Two buses carrying nearly 90 migrants from Latin America arrived in Philadelphia on Friday, after being sent north by the state of Texas as part of a political battle over immigration in the United States.

In recent months Texas and other conservative states bordering Mexico have been sending migrants to northern Democratic strongholds to send a message about President Joe Biden’s immigration policy, which they believe is too permissive.

Charitable organizations helping the migrants said the group of over 85 men, women, and children was largely made up of Colombians and Nicaraguans who had crossed into the US near Eagle Pass in Texas.

Emilio, an activist with Casa de Venezuela, one of several NGOs who went to meet the new arrivals, said the migrants were being taken care of.

“They didn’t know what to expect in Philadelphia,” said Emilio, who asked only to be identified by his first name. “They were actually kindly surprised that a group of people was waiting for them at the bus station with clothes, coffee and blankets, because the weather is quite cold here right now.”

He added that most of the migrants would like to go to New York and the charities are trying to arrange transportation for them.

The office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott did not respond to AFP’s request for comment.

The White House has slammed the states for using migrants as “political pawns.”

The latest arrival of buses from the south comes as hundreds of migrants are gathering at the Mexican border, waiting for the expiry next week of a Covid-19 health measure that automatically blocks asylum seekers from entering the United States.

The “Title 42″ measure has been used to expel hundreds of thousands of people since being invoked by former president Donald Trump in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and has been criticized as cruel and ineffective.

It expires at midnight on December 21.

In September, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent two planes carrying migrants to the wealthy island of Martha’s Vineyard.

The move came a week after Abbott sent two buses carrying migrants to a location near the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington.

While immigration is a hot-button issue in the United States, experts say that half of the labor shortage in the country — estimated at around 3.5 million by the Federal Reserve — is due to a lack of migrants.

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