Greg Abbott branded ‘evil’ for sending migrant bus to LA in middle of tropical storm Hilary

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been branded as “evil” for sending a bus of migrants to Los Angeles while the city was bracing for the dangerous impact of Tropical Storm Hilary.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass slammed the Republican governor for “endanger[ing] the lives” of vulnerable families and toddlers by sending them into the heart of the storm at a time when local residents were warned to seek shelter away from the extreme weather.

“It is evil to endanger the lives of vulnerable migrants by sending a bus with families and toddlers on board to a city that at the time was under an unprecedented tropical storm warning,” the mayor said in a statement on Monday.

“As I stood with state and local leaders warning Angelenos to stay safe and brace themselves for the worst of the coming storm, the Governor of Texas sent families and toddlers straight for us on a path through extreme weather conditions.”

The mayor said that Mr Abbott should know more than most the dangers given his state is regularly pummeled by these weather events.

“If anybody understands the danger of hurricanes and thunderstorms, it’s the Governor of Texas – who has to deal with this threat on an annual basis,” Ms Bass added.

“This is a despicable act beyond politics.”

She doubled down in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“This evening, Los Angeles received another bus from Texas,” she wrote.

“That means 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. Evil.”

The bus carrying the migrants left Brownsville, Texas, on Sunday, arriving at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles at 6.45pm on Monday, according to the mayor’s office.

The mayor said that her office learned about the bus arriving into the state at a time when the city’s emergency operations centre was activated to a higher level as Hilary headed to the state.

Hurricane Hilary made landfall at the Baja California peninsula in Mexico before being downgraded to a tropical storm before it crossed into the US.

A toppled tree from the tropical storm covers a car in Los Angeles on Monday after Storm Hilary barreled through (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A toppled tree from the tropical storm covers a car in Los Angeles on Monday after Storm Hilary barreled through (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

It’s the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years and has led to rainfall and major flooding.

The office of the mayor said it was the ninth such bus to arrive in LA this year. A number of nonprofit groups and city agencies have taken on the role of helping the migrants.

Mr Abbott started sending migrants on buses to Democratic strongholds such as New York City, Chicago, and Washington DC last year.

He was criticised in June after 42 migrants, several of them children, spent 23 hours on a bus to get to Los Angeles without food or water.

“Los Angeles is a major city that migrants seek to go to, particularly now that its city leaders approved its self-declared sanctuary city status,” he said in a statement at the time. “Our border communities are on the frontlines of President Biden’s border crisis, and Texas will continue providing this much-needed relief until he steps up to do his job and secure the border.”

In June, Ms Bass argued that Mr Abbott was “using human beings as pawns in his cheap political games”.

“This did not catch us off guard, nor will it intimidate us,” she said at the time. “Los Angeles is not a city motivated by hate or fear and we absolutely will not be swayed or moved by petty politicians playing with human lives.”