Busloads of migrants have been dropped off outside of Washington, D.C., at the Naval Observatory, the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris reports CNN. The migrants were seeking asylum from the countries of Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Peru, and Colombia,
Upon arriving at the nation's capital, two groups of buses were taken to local shelters, and more buses arrived outside the vice president’s residence later Saturday evening.
While it’s unclear who is responsible for sending the migrants to the Naval Observatory, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott previously sent buses of migrants north, including to a location outside Harris’ home, in September.
The Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, a local grassroots organization, responded to the surprising dropoff and met the migrants, who were not appropriately dressed to deal with the harsh winter weather.
Amy Fischer, an organizer with the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, told NPR's All Things Considered on Sunday that Abbott's motives were deliberately "rooted in racism and xenophobia."
"At the end of the day, everybody who arrived here last night was able to get free transportation, on a charter bus, that got them closer to their final destination," she said.
SAMU First Response, a nonprofit assisting migrants since the buses began coming to Washington earlier this year, was also on hand to offer assistance.
“The D.C. community has been welcoming buses from Texas anytime they’ve come since April. Christmas Eve and freezing cold weather is no different,” Fischer said. “We are always here welcoming folks with open arms.”
When the migrants arrived in D.C., the White House accused Abbott of the action, calling it a “cruel, dangerous, and shameful stunt.”
“Governor Abbott abandoned children on the side of the road in below-freezing temperatures on Christmas Eve without coordinating with any Federal or local authorities,” White House spokesperson Abdullah Hasan said in a statement.
“As we have repeatedly said, we are willing to work with anyone—Republican or Democrat alike—on real solutions, like the comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures President Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office, but these political games accomplish nothing and only put lives in danger,” Hasan added.
In response to the influx of migrants sent to northern states, Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency in New York City in October.
“We now have a situation where more people are arriving in New York City than we can immediately accommodate, including families with babies and young children,” he said at a press conference at the time. “Once the asylum seekers from today’s buses are provided shelter, we would surpass the highest number of people in recorded history in our city’s shelter system.”
Adams also said that the situation with asylum seekers "should be handled at the border," but does not see Texas Governor Greg Abbott as a political ally in the matter.
"He's untrustworthy," Adams said.
Adams additionally called for a national strategy to spread asylum seekers to various cities in the country.