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Some liberal cities that have in recent weeks been crying foul over moves by Republican governors to bus migrants to sanctuary jurisdictions across the country have themselves used buses to transport homeless people out of their cities.
Texas and Arizona have bussed more than 10,000 illegal immigrants to Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago – all cities that describe themselves as “sanctuary cities.” Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week flew approximately 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
The flights and buses have drawn a barrage of criticism from liberal city mayors and the Biden administration. The White House accused governors of treating migrants like “chattel.”
Los Angeles Gov. Gavin Newsom called for a federal probe into the migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard and has called such moves “morally reprehensible.”
City officials welcome migrants arriving in New York City on Sept. 4, 2022. (Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Officials in D.C. and New York City have also been critical of the buses into their states, with NYC Mayor Eric Adams calling Texas Gov. Abbott’s moves “anti-American.”
But a number of those states have themselves engaged in bussing, not of migrants but of homeless people out of their cities.
Fox News Digital reported this week how Newsom launched “Homeward Bound” when serving as San Francisco mayor – a program that gave homeless people a one-way Greyhound bus ticket out of Frisco.
“Remember, the vast majority of people that are out on the sidewalks are not from San Francisco originally, and they all have some contacts somewhere, a godparent, a mother, brother, sister, uncle, son, daughter,” Newsom argued at the time. “And those are the people, beyond anything else, that can help turn their lives around.”
The program has since been integrated into California’s Access Points program. In a statement to Fox News Digital, Newsom’s communications director, Erin Mellon, said “there is no comparison” between Homeward Bound and the actions of DeSantis and Abbott.
“There is no comparison between the two,” Mellon said. “SF helped people get home to their families. GOP Republicans kidnapped people for a political stunt.”
“The Republican stunt lied to people about what they would receive and where they were going and provided no support, instead dumping them on the street as political pawns,” she continued. “Homeward Bound was completely voluntary, and participants signed up to get home to family. While they waited, they were provided shelter, they were given financial support for food along the trip and there was follow-through to make sure people got home.”
New York City, meanwhile, runs the Special One Time Assistance (SOTA) Program, which provides one year of rent to eligible homeless New Yorkers either within New York or outside the city and state. It has also run “Project Reconnect” for years which, according to its literature, offers “one-way travel assistance by train, bus or domestic or international airline” to the homeless in order to help them “make the transition from crisis to independence.”
The program requires the traveler to have a “strong connection to a location outside of New York City… a viable, identified place to live [and] a means of support through employment, or a family member or individual.”
The New York City Department of Social Services did not respond to a request for information on the program. But In 2019, the New York Post reported how the city had sent homeless families to 373 cities across the U.S. with the rent provided by the SOTA program, and that between 2017 and 2019, 12,482 people had been exported to 32 states and Puerto Rico. A 2017 deep dive by The Guardian in 2017 found that under a prior iteration of the program set up by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, approximately 650 people had been flown out of the country altogether.
The nation’s capital has dabbled in similar behavior, although allegedly not to the same extent. In 2017, The Washington Post reported how multiple homeless families were given bus tickets to North Carolina – something homeless advocates mockingly referred to as “bus ticket therapy.” Officials claimed that such instances were rare.
Other liberal enclaves that have, or have had programs giving bus tickets to the homeless to get out of town include Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon – where a 2019 New York Times report found that 383 people has been bussed in a single year.
Some liberal areas have also engaged in migrant bussing themselves. Most recently, the Democrat-run city of El Paso has been sending buses to New York, but has so far escaped the same criticism heaped on the Republican governors. Mayor Adams praised El Paso for coordinating with New York City, unlike the governor of Texas, who he said had not.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.
Adam Shaw is a politics reporter for Fox News Digital, with a focus on immigration. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY