Florida and Texas plan to transport migrants to “left” cities culminated in a pair of cruel 12-hour publicity stunts this week, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordering two buses to be dropped off outside the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday morning.
The buses that arrived in Washington, DC were carrying around 100 migrants, Fox News reportedmost of whom were nationals of Venezuela, Uruguay, Colombia and Mexico.
Video circulating online from the scene showed the group of young men, women and children carrying backpacks, pillows and blankets as they chatted outside Harris’ residence with nowhere to go initially.
As word of their arrival spread, however, local immigrant organizations sprang into action. A representative from a charity called Sanctuary DMV came later that morning and said the migrants could be temporarily housed at a local church.
The buses were dispatched without warning, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said DC News Now, leaving the city unprepared. She said she only became aware of the buses after a reporter called her office and a “municipal task force” was dispatched to provide assistance.
A representative from SAMU First Response, which provides humanitarian aid to asylum seekers in DC, told the Daily Beast at the scene that aid groups expected the migrants to be dropped off at Union Station, as other recent arrivals.
“They were very confused,” said Tatiana Laborde, the organization’s chief executive. “One thing is dropped off at Union Station, you know, where it’s a bigger, more open space. Another is the sidewalk we have near the [Naval] Observatory, fully guarded. It is much more difficult.
Laborde said buses have become more regular recently, with the next known arrival passing through Arizona on Friday. She said the influx is straining her organization.
“Buses are constantly coming,” she said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re going to have more buses tomorrow morning here.”
DC News Now spoke with a migrant named Wilder Alberto Pinto Sosa. He said he made the trip to the United States with his son through eight countries and they hoped to eventually make it to New York.
Pinto Sosa said they were bused in from Texas and were happy to be in the United States, telling DC News Now they were treated “much better than any other country” than they had crossed.
Thursday’s stunt was just the latest from Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who both shipped potential refugees north and flagged conservative media before alerting their cities of arrival.
On Wednesday night, DeSantis ordered a pair of charter flights — booked with $12 million of taxpayers’ money — to ferry around 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a posh Massachusetts island that lacks adequate facilities to take in supports an influx of migrants. The migrants involved were flown from Texas to Florida, where they spent no time on the ground, before being flown north, NPR reported.
The arrival of the robbery sent local authorities scrambling, while DeSantis confirmed he was the instigator.
“Yes, Florida can confirm that the two aircraft with illegal immigrants that arrived at Martha’s Vineyard today were part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” a carrier said. word of DeSantis. CBSBoston.
The migrants, meanwhile, disembarked confused. A migrant tells NPR she was told the flight was heading to Boston so she could get expedited work documents.
A person named “Perla” was walking around a facility in San Antonio, Texas, recruiting people to fly north, the migrant said, until the flight departed. The flight then departed Texas for Florida, where it made a brief stopover, before stopping again in South Carolina en route to Martha’s Vineyard.
The administrator of the town of Edgartown, where the migrants are staying, said he was not worried about the politics of the situation – he was just focusing on how his town of 5,200 people could help.
“I have 50 people we have to look after who need services, and we need to coordinate efforts and make sure it’s done efficiently,” James Hagerty told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “And make sure it’s done to the best of our abilities. This is what we owe to the citizens of the city.
Hagerty said many migrants did not know where they were when they disembarked. For now, they are housed in a church, he said, while state officials work out a long-term plan.
The use of migrants, many of whom have escaped the violence, as political pawns has infuriated officials and advocates who have called the stunts immoral and fiscally irresponsible.
Massachusetts State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, a Democrat who represents the island, told the Martha’s Vineyard Times it was “disgusting” and “inhuman”.
“These governors or whoever it is, all they care about is scoring political points on Tucker Carlson and Fox News,” he said. “These people claim to be Christians? It’s about the most anti-Christian thing you can do. It’s evil.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called the decision “repulsive and cruel,” while Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said the rulings should disqualify DeSantis and Abbott from holding public office.
“Someone who would round up Venezuelans, who fled one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships, and then use them for a political stunt, never has a thing to do with political office,” he said. he declares.
Venezuelan migrants stand outside St. Andrew’s Church on Martha’s Vineyard.
Others, like Rep. from Florida Anna V. Eskamani, called the governors human traffickers — lying to vulnerable migrants and promising them help, then shipping them without notice across state lines. And that at a significant cost.
DeSantis’ stunt reportedly cost $12 million, or more than $200,000 per migrant, while Texas has spent $14 million since Sept. 7 to transport migrants by bus, KXAN reported.
“Florida is spending $12 million to evacuate innocent migrant children from our state when that money could be spent fighting to help Floridians and cut costs,” tweeted Charlie Crist, a Democratic candidate for governor of Florida. “This is just another political stunt that harms our state.”
DeSantis’ office, meanwhile, proudly touted his costly effort, with the governor telling a news conference Thursday morning that he was sending migrants to “greener pastures.” His deputy press secretary, meanwhile, may have unwittingly compared his boss’s work to that of the drug cartels.
“Are the human smuggling cartels calling Florida or Texas before illegal immigrants wash up on our shores or cross the border?” tweeted Jeremy Redfern. “No. Welcome to a state on the southern border of Massachusetts.”
—with additional reporting by Eileen Grench