A Marin shuttle company is denying involvement with a national immigration controversy following reports that a bus with its logo deposited migrants in New York City.
At least one bus emblazoned with the distinct rainbow and lettering of Marin Airporter was seen in videos and on national news reports on Saturday at the New York Port Authority, where it was dropping off migrants and their possessions.
David Hughes, vice president of Marin Airporter, said it sold two buses were in May to a company in Houston. He said the company did not comply with requests remove the Marin Airporter logos from the side of the buses.
“It is standard in the industry for new owners to update bus paint and logos when purchasing used buses, however this obviously has not been done,” he said. “Marin Airporter is deeply distressed that our name has been connected with the exploitation of vulnerable human beings.”
Marin Airporter, which is based in San Rafael, primarily runs passengers from Marin County stops to San Francisco International Airport.
Buses with the Marin Airporter logo have been seen in New York bussing migrants from Texas. These buses are not owned or operated by Marin Airporter. They were sold months ago and the new owners have failed to repaint them. We would never be a part of something like this.
— Marin Airporter (@MarinAirporter) September 18, 2022
Hughes, who declined to name the Houston company, said Marin Airporter is considering legal action over its name and logo being misappropriated and defamed.
“If we had any idea this was their intention we never would have sold these guys these buses,” he said. “It’s a very strange situation for us.”
The buses sold in May were made in 2010, Hughes said. They were sold because they no longer met state environmental regulations related to diesel engines.
On Sept. 15, news outlets reported that Republican governors escalated a campaign to transport border migrants to so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions, which are almost exclusively governed by Democrats.
The feud over immigration comes just weeks before the 2022 midterm elections, as each party seeks to mobilize its base. Republican governors have called upon the federal government to respond to what they say is a mounting crisis along the southern border. Their immigrant strategy has instead been condemned as theater using vulnerable migrants as political props.
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas are the key leaders of the operation. Both have previously transported migrants from the southern border to Democratic strongholds.
Last week, Abbott announced the arrival of two buses of migrants from Texas outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in Washington, D.C. Harris has been named the administration’s “border czar.”
The buses dropped off more than 100 migrants from Colombia, Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela, according to Abbott.
“The Biden-Harris Administration continues ignoring and denying the historic crisis at our southern border, which has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for almost two years,” Abbott said in a released statement. “Texas will continue sending migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, D.C. until President Biden and Border Czar Harris step up and do their jobs to secure the border.”
The statement said the Texas Division of Emergency Management chartered the buses to Washington, D.C.
In August, Abbott added New York City and Chicago as dropoff locations. He took credit for the removal of more 10,000 migrants from Texas.
DeSantis sent at least one plane with dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, an affluent Massachusetts island known as a liberal stronghold.
On Sunday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he is considering legal action against Texas to stop the migrant transportation, Politico reported.
Politico said “at least six more buses from Texas arrived in the city Sunday morning.” It is estimated at least 11,000 migrants have entered the city’s homeless shelters since May, including 2,500 who arrived on buses chartered by Abbott.
The Houston Chronicle reported it cost Texas approximately $1,700 per passenger to transport the migrants.