Child hospitalized after traveling aboard Texas migrant bus to Philadelphia

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By Ted Hesson and Bastiaan Slabbers


PHILADELPHIA, (Reuters) -Philadelphia emergency personnel took a child to hospital on Wednesday from a bus that had just arrived carrying migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border, and city officials chastised Texas Governor Greg Abbott for sending the bus without coordinating it in advance.

The 10-year-old girl was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for dehydration and a high fever, according to Democratic City Council Member Helen Gym, who was among the officials to greet the bus.

The charter bus carrying 28 migrants arrived in the city early on Wednesday morning as part of an effort by the Republican Texas governor to draw attention to security at the U.S.-Mexico border. Abbott and some other Republican governors have been moving migrants to Democratic-controlled cities in the north.

The bus parked near Philadelphia's 30th Street train station around 6 a.m. and was met by city workers with blankets, coats and coffee, Philadelphia city officials said at a press conference.

Philadelphia's Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney held a press conference and sharply criticized Abbott and other Texas officials for what he called "cruel and racist policies."

"I guess they're having fun and they're enjoying playing with people's lives," Kenney said.

Abbott, who won a third term in last week's midterm U.S. elections, has pursued sensational ways to demonstrate his opposition to U.S. President Joe Biden's border policies. A record number of migrants have been caught at the border during Biden's presidency, though many of them were immediately turned back to Mexico.

Abbott has tweeted he would invoke the "invasion clauses" of the U.S. and Texas constitutions to take "unprecedented measures" to defend the state. In a letter to Texas officials, Abbott said the Texas National Guard would "repel and turn-back immigrants trying to cross the border illegally."

U.S. federal agencies are tasked with managing the border and it remained unclear whether Abbott's actions could prompt legal challenges.

Since April, Texas has bused about 13,000 migrants to Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago. The program has dwindled in recent weeks as the Biden administration began rapidly expelling Venezuelans to Mexico under a public health order. On Tuesday, a judge ruled the health order was unlawful.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said the city would watch for any signs the migrants were forced or tricked into boarding buses.

In September, Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis chartered a plane to fly mostly Venezuelan migrants from Texas to the Massachusetts vacation enclave of Martha's Vineyard. The migrants said they were misled and a Texas sheriff has opened an investigation.

(Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington and Bastiaan Slabbers in Philadelphia; Editing by Mica Rosenberg, David Gregorio and Lincoln Feast)

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