A Marin Airporter bus with its rainbow logo was seen dropping off immigrants in New York, but the company says that it sold that bus to a Texas company in May.
A Bay Area shuttle company says it’s not involved with Republican governors’ efforts to transport migrants across the United States, even though buses with its distinct rainbow pattern on the side and name — Marin Airporter — have been plastered in news coverage.
The San Rafael-based company operates eight routes in Marin County and makes some of its buses available for charter, but the company said it was caught off guard when a bus with its logo was seen dropping off migrants from Texas in New York last week.
GOP governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida have recently taken to transporting recently arrived immigrants to liberal cities and states, and at times right at the homes of political opponents in what critics have called a political stunt at the expense of a group of vulnerable people. Immigrants have arrived in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Martha’s Vineyard and, at one point, at the doorstep of Vice President Kamala Harris’ home.
Some immigrants have said they didn’t know where they were being sent or why.
An executive with Marin Airporter told The Times that the company has been “horrified” at being linked to the practice of moving migrants across the country, and it was shocked to learn buses that were sold in May were being used to transport some of the people.
“Marin Airporter is deeply distressed that our name has been connected with the exploitation of vulnerable human beings,” said David Hughes, vice president of the company. “The buses seen in national media bringing migrants to New York from Texas do not belong to the Marin Airporter.”
Hughes said two buses were sold to a company based in Houston four months ago, and for an unknown reason, the Texas company has not removed the logo from the buses.
It’s standard practice for new owners of buses to repaint logos and names of the vehicles before using them, Hughes said. Before handing off the buses, he said, Marin Airporter made sure to also remove its Department of Transportation number from the side of the buses.
Since finding out that the buses were being used to move immigrants across the country, Hughes said Marin Airporter has been in touch repeatedly with the Texas company and has asked multiple times that it remove the logo from the buses.
The company, which Hughes declined to name, has been “unresponsive.”
“We would never be a part of anything like this,” Marin Airporter tweeted.
It’s unclear why the company has refused to repaint the buses, Hughes said. Marin Airporter has done business with the company in the past, selling two other buses last year. Those buses were repainted without an issue.
In a statement, Abbott’s office said Texas has bused more than 7,900 immigrants to D.C. since April, more than 2,200 to New York and more than 300 to Chicago.
In California, eight immigrants from Venezuela who are looking to apply for asylum landed in Sacramento after being flown in from Texas last week. The men told an advocacy group none of them had intentions of heading to Sacramento, but were given paperwork that now requires them to check in with immigration officials there.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.