LA City Council calls for criminal investigation into migrant transportation

Members of the Los Angeles City Council were pursuing an investigation Friday into whether human trafficking and kidnapping were committed when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bused migrants from his state to L.A.

Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez introduced the motion alongside her colleagues Nithya Raman, Monica Rodriguez and Hugo Soto-Martinez to direct the City Attorney's office to conduct the investigation.

In addition, a resolution was introduced calling upon the L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón, California State Attorney General Rob Bonta and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to conduct similar investigations for possible crimes committed during the "political stunt."

On Wednesday, 42 migrants were bused from the Texas-Mexico border to Union Station by Abbott, who proclaimed his state's border region "overrun" and hinted that more shipments of immigrants could follow.

"Texas' small border towns remain overwhelmed and overrun by the thousands of people illegally crossing into Texas from Mexico because of President Biden's refusal to secure the border," Abbott said in a statement. "Los Angeles is a major city that migrants seek to go to, particularly now that its city leaders approved its self-declared sanctuary city status. Our border communities are on the front lines of President Biden's border crisis, and Texas will continue providing this much-needed relief until he steps up to do his job and secure the border."

RELATED: Dozens of migrants from Texas arrive in Los Angeles

The immigrants were taken to St. Anthony's Croatian Catholic Church in Chinatown, and Los Angeles Fire Department crews responded to ensure none of them had any medical issues. According to the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, the immigrants were on the bus for nearly 24 hours, with some saying they had not eaten or had anything to drink during the journey.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement calling it "abhorrent that an American elected official is using human beings as pawns in his cheap political games."

"Shortly after I took office, I directed city departments to begin planning in the event Los Angeles was on the receiving end of a despicable stunt that Republican governors have grown so fond of," Bass said in a statement late Wednesday night.

L.A. leaders immediately denounced Abbot's actions as "dangerous" and "dehumanizing abuse of human lives" for the benefit of a political theater, according to a statement from Hernandez's office.

The motion points out that it is "currently unknown whether any documentation exists showing that these individuals consented to the transport voluntarily nor that they were fully informed of the destination and nature of transit."

"Governor Abbott's actions demonstrate a callous disregard for basic human life and a complete lack of competence in leadership," Hernandez said in a statement. "And while he might be incapable of meeting the moment, here in Los Angeles, we welcome people with the dignity and compassion they deserve. The families who arrived here this week deserve a complete and thorough investigation into this political stunt and we will work with our city, state and federal partners to see that it happens."


Councilwoman Rodriguez in a statement added that as a daughter of immigrants, it is an "affront to the ideals of America my father and so many of our country's service members fought for."

"Sadly, these acts show the worst of the political exploitation of vulnerable families by a politician that clearly is unable to provide any compassionate or thoughtful solutions," she added.

The arrival of migrants in Los Angeles this week follows similar stunts in major cities across the country. Last week, the City Council unanimously passed a motion directing the city to draft a ``Sanctuary City`` ordinance that when passed would prohibit any city resources, property or personnel from being utilized for any federal immigration enforcement.