"Dehumanizing and cynical": Abbott's migrant bus stunt may have been "coordinated" with Fox News

Human rights advocates condemn Texas governor's "cruel" attempt to "weaponize migrants"

By Kenny Stancil

Published April 14, 2022 12:30PM (EDT)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared at Common Dreams. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Appalled human rights defenders condemned Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday after the first bus of migrants he sent from the U.S.-Mexico border to the nation's capital arrived outside an office building that houses Fox News, which quickly provided glowing coverage of the far-right official's latest effort to demonize immigrants.

"Of course Greg Abbott ordered the bus with migrants on it to show up in front of Fox News headquarters here in D.C.," Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, senior policy counsel at the American Immigration Council, wrote on social media. "It's an incredibly dehumanizing and cynical stunt."

"This was all coordinated closely with Fox News, which had an article up immediately," Reichlin-Melnick continued. "One man said he was heading to Florida—[a] sign that Abbott's 'voluntary' bus trips were probably not."

Last week, Abbott's vow to transport migrants to Washington, D.C. as a show of opposition to President Joe Biden's phase-out of Title 42—a pubic health order used by the Trump and Biden administrations to swiftly expel asylum-seekers from the U.S. more than 1.7 million times during a two-year period—was widely denounced.

"Neither Fox News nor Greg Abbott think migrants qua migrants are people," Reichlin-Melnick wrote Wednesday. "Individual migrants may be elevated to the status of a person if useful as a political tool—the small children who die in the desert, the suffering of unnamed women—but that's the exception."

Texas' governor and the right-wing media outlet are engaging in "deliberate cruelty that treats human beings like pawns," said Reichlin-Melnick. "Disgusting."

"As a long-time D.C. resident, I hate seeing our town used again as a political prop," he added. "Guess what, Greg Abbott. We're not afraid of migrants. We are a vibrant immigrant community that has already welcomed tens of thousands of migrants in the last few years. We have heart—unlike you."

According to The Dallas Morning News, a charter bus carrying roughly two dozen Nicaraguans and Venezuelans departed Del Rio on Saturday and arrived a few blocks away from the U.S. Capitol just after 8:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

Given that they were dropped off near Union Station, Reichlin-Melnick predicted that the migrants are "presumably now at the station waiting for another bus."

"There is something deeply wrong with Greg Abbott," he added. "He's trying to weaponize migrants, ignoring their humanity and using them as pawns for his political ambitions. But he underestimates the people of D.C. We are happy to help."

Kenny Stancil

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