More than 2,500 migrants released from Border Patrol custody have been bused from Arizona and Texas to Washington, D.C., the Washington Examiner reported Wednesday.
The two Republican-led states have provided a total of 79 free, state-provided buses to take migrants to Washington, sources told the Examiner.
"These people are wanting to go somewhere else. They're not wanting to stay in Arizona," Morgan Carr, spokeswoman for Gov. Doug Ducey, R-Ariz., told the Examiner. "From what we're seeing, they're all primarily [headed to] the East Coast."
The Examiner said that more than 2,000 migrants on 65 buses had arrived in the nation's capital from the Lone Star State since Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, began the initiative in mid-April.
Fourteen buses carrying 523 people had departed Arizona since mid-May.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics showed that there were 222,144 migrant encounters in March and 234,088 in April as the number or people attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border continued to surge under President Joe Biden.
The Examiner reported that a quarter of migrants in Arizona said they planned to go to New York after arriving in Washington, while 23% said they'd go to New Jersey. Florida was the third most popular choice.
A total of 69% of migrants bused from Arizona were from Colombia, with Peruvians (15%) comprising the second highest percentage. Eight Russian citizens were among those on a bus that departed Tuesday.
Although Abbott had asked Texans to help fund his initiative of sending migrants from the southern border to Washington, D.C., Arizona expected the Biden administration to pay for the buses, which are free of charge to migrants.
"This is a problem caused by Washington. We're bringing it to Washington, and we expect Washington to foot the bill. We're going to send them a bill," Ducey spokesman C.J. Karamargin told the Examiner in May.
Arizona's busing operation is helping communities such as Yuma, Arizona, where hundreds of migrants daily are released and permitted to travel anywhere in the U.S.
Airports and bus lines in the region have been overwhelmed, and Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls, a Republican, said that transporting migrants released from custody has been a challenge.
The Examiner reported that a local nonprofit group was looking at other ways of transporting migrants to out-of-state airports, including in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
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