PHILADELPHIA (NewsNation) — A Philadelphia city council member said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has “weaponized” the migrant crisis at the southern border after a bus carrying 28 migrants, including a sick and dehydrated child, from Texas, arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Instead of busing migrants, Philadelphia City Council member Helen Gym argued Abbott should be “the loudest advocate” for “comprehensive immigration reform.”
“We welcomed these legal immigrants who are seeking asylum,” Gym told NewsNation. “These are refugees who have a right to seek asylum here in this country. But I also want to make very clear that Gov. Greg Abbott does have the chance to make it make clear that we need comprehensive immigration reform.”
The 10-year-old girl was suffering from dehydration and a high fever and was taken to a hospital.
Abbott announced on Tuesday that a group of migrants had departed for Philadelphia, where they arrived Wednesday morning.
Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Office of Emergency Management coordinated with 15 community-based organizations to plan a local response for the migrants’ arrival, city officials said.
Texas has put more than 300 busloads of migrants on the road since April, sometimes five in a day, on unannounced journeys to cities including New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The trips have cost Texas about $26 million, according to Nim Kidd, chief of Texas Department of Emergency Management.
Gym said she has visited El Paso, Texas to witness the humanitarian crisis at the southern border and believes the U.S. needs a border policy that “makes sense for both sides of the border.”
“But political stunts in which a 10-year-old was put in danger, in which her health was not the primary consideration, is not the way that we handle this,” Gym said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.