Texas has shipped out the latest busload of migrants who had crossed the border from Mexico, this time sending them into Los Angeles as it was struggling to keep residents safe from Tropical Storm Hilary.
The busload of 37 migrants left the border city of Brownsville at 5 p.m. on Sunday, just as Southern California and much of the surrounding area was in a state of emergency, according to a coalition of advocacy groups that received them. They arrived around 6:30 p.m. Monday.
The largest group of people on the bus were from Venezuela, with the rest from Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Ecuador. Also in the group were 15 children, including a 3-week-old baby.
Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, an aid groups that supports asylum seekers, called the Texas officials’ decision to send them into a storm zone “reckless.”
Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles called the decision “evil.” On X, the site formerly known as Twitter, she wrote that “while we were urging Angelenos to stay safe, the Governor of Texas was sending a bus with families and toddlers straight towards us KNOWING they’d have to drive right into an unprecedented storm.”
Confirming the dispatch of the migrant bus, Andrew Mahaleris, a spokesman for Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, said in an email on Tuesday afternoon that the bus had been “rerouted out of an abundance of caution and took a cautious path to Los Angeles to keep all on board safe.”
Mr. Mahaleris said the migrants had chosen to go to Los Angeles and repeated the governor’s call for tougher border enforcement.
“Instead of complaining about Texas providing much-needed relief to our overrun and overwhelmed border communities, Mayor Bass needs to call on President Biden to step up and do his job to secure the border — something he continues failing to do,” Mr. Mahaleris said.
Bus dispatches are part of a crackdown on people who enter the United States without authorization to request asylum by Governor Abbott. His account on X on Monday evening posted pictures of a border enforcement event and criticized President Biden for failing to secure the border.
It’s unclear which route the bus took to make the 1,600-mile journey from Brownsville to Los Angeles. The most common routes would have taken it through San Diego, which was pummeled by wind and rain on Sunday, or along Interstate 10 through Palm Springs, one of the worst-hit areas, which was briefly shut down on Monday for emergency operations.
Southern California was pummeled by Tropical Storm Hilary for most of the day and night on Sunday. The storm dropped record rainfall across the region, downed power lines and trees, and left some places knee-deep in mud. For much of the time that the bus was making its trip, local officials in the region were asking people to stay home and stay off the roads.
By the time the bus arrived Monday evening, Los Angeles city and county authorities were still assessing the full damage of the storm.
Monday’s arrivals are the ninth busload of people to be sent to the city since June. Most have said they have friends and relatives in Southern California, according to the advocacy groups that help them find housing and legal services.
“I was really shocked when I heard a bus was traveling to Los Angeles from Texas in light of the weather situation,” said Guillermo Torres, who works with one of those groups, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.
Texas and Florida have sent migrants by the thousands to mostly Democratic cities and towns by bus and, on occasion, by plane, including to Denver, Martha’s Vineyard, New York City and Washington.