Since Nov. 16, just under 300 immigrants have arrived at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, said Amy Eusebio, director of the City’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

They were bused from Texas, adding Philly to the list of so-called “sanctuary cities” to which the Lone Star State’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has sent thousands of immigrants in an “unprecedented response to President [Joe] Biden’s open border policies,” Abbott’s office said in a November statement.

Just two months after Biden was inaugurated president in January 2021, the rate of enforcement encounters on the southern border with Mexico more than doubled from 78,000 to 173,000, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

While Abbott said he intends “to defend against an invasion along the border,” the City of Brotherly Love stands by its “welcoming policies,” which are “important because immigrants have actually been really key to the city’s repopulation efforts since post-deindustrialization,” Eusebio told the Capital-Star.

However, these policies may not be enough for these new arrivals to stay post-pandemic, even if the state would benefit from more immigration.

‘A Christmas miracle’

The “busing strategy” is “providing much-needed relief to Texas’ overwhelmed border communities,” Abbott’s office said. As of November 2022, 13,200 migrants have been bused to Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C., costing Texas $26 million, according to the Texas Tribune.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s office said their share of the buses departed from Del Rio and Eagle Pass, two small border towns where the influx in 2021 tested limited resources, disrupted daily life, and frustrated locals, the New York Times reported.

While noting “Abbott has his own agenda with doing this,” Eusebio agreed that the buses have helped take the burden off of border communities that “have operated these kinds of respite centers for decades.”


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