Posted on November 27, 2023

States Are Spending Millions to Send Migrants Somewhere Else

Stef W. Knight et al., Axios, November 25, 2023

States spent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to ship migrants elsewhere this year.


By the numbers: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has taken the most aggressive approach — sending state law enforcement and National Guard troops to patrol the border and, as of mid-November, busing more than 66,000 migrants and asylum seekers across the country.

  • The state spent $86.1 million between April 2022 and October 2023 on these efforts — roughly $1,650 per person, according to data obtained by Axios through the Texas Public Information Act.


Between the lines: It’s no longer just red-state governors making a loud political point. Democratic state and city leaders are investing in their own forms of migrant transportation programs, though they are quick to differentiate their motivations from those of Abbott and DeSantis.

  • New York City has spent millions on what they call a “re-ticketing program,” which launched last year when the city first began facing an influx of new arrivals. The program provides free bus and plane tickets to migrants and asylum seekers’ final destination.
  • It’s become so popular, the city opened up a central site last month dedicated to the program.
  • Arizona’s Democratic governor has spent about $5.7 million transporting nearly 27,000 asylum seekers both within and out of the state, Axios Phoenix reports.
  • The city of Denver has spent nearly $4.3 million on migrant transportation costs. New York, Chicago and Salt Lake City are three of their most frequent requests, according to the mayor’s office.
  • Catholic Charities in Chicago tells Axios it has used city money to buy tickets for 2,500 migrants to travel to other towns.


Zoom out: Responding to historic levels of migration throughout the Americas has come with high costs across the board in the U.S.