Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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Migrants bused to D.C. from Texas and Arizona are facing financial roadblocks that prevent them from reaching their final destination beyond D.C, according to Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

“In a cynical political stunt which has exploited both vulnerable migrants and D.C., the governors of Texas and Arizona have bused thousands of migrants to the District in the last several months,” Norton said in a statement.

On Aug. 11, Norton initiated the signing of a letter to the National Board of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, requesting it eliminate the cap on reimbursement for long-distance travel.

“Eighty-five percent of these migrants intend to travel to a final destination other than D.C., but the EFSP’s cap on reimbursements for long-distance travel has prevented them from reaching those destinations, where many have family and support systems,” she continued.

In the letter, Norton applauds the National Board’s July 22, 2022, decision to increase the travel cap to 50 percent of migrants served for 30 days, but adds that percentage is still too low and the duration is too short.

“We anticipate that Texas and Arizona will continue to bus migrants to D.C. indefinitely. We ask that you permanently eliminate the cap,” the letter states.

The letter also takes aim at the political leadership in the southern states. “The governors of Texas and Arizona are exploiting and harming vulnerable people who are fleeing desperate and dangerous situations in their home countries for political gain,” it says.

Norton has taken other steps to address the issue, including planning an introduction of an emergency appropriations bill designated for humanitarian assistance to migrants, including those being bused into the District of Columbia by Texas and Arizona.

She has also met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss the issue, and actively works with groups assisting the migrants, the General Services Administration, and FEMA.

The letter was led by Norton, and signed by 18 other House members, including:

  • Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (D-NY)
  • Tony Cárdenas (D-CA)
  • André Carson (D-IN)
  • Veronica Escobar (D-TX)
  • Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)
  • Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL)
  • Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ)
  • Mondaire Jones (D-NY)
  • Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
  • James P. McGovern (D-MA)
  • Grace Meng (D-NY)
  • Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)
  • Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)
  • Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA)
  • Juan Vargas (D-CA)
  • Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY)
  • Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)