Democrats’ blood boils on Abbott and DeSantis’ migrant bus

Democrats accuse Republican governors of cruelly using migrants as political pawns after chartering buses and flights to send them to places like New York and Martha’s Vineyard.

Migrants on two flights chartered by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) landed at Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday afternoon, and a few hours later, dozens of migrants sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) arrived by bus near the Vice President’s Residence in Washington, D.C.

The governors, along with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R), have transported thousands of migrants in recent months, arguing the decision brings relief to border communities overwhelmed by President Biden’s immigration policies.

But Democrats responded to the moves with an intense backlash and accused governors of giving localities no notice and misleading migrants.

“Why only send these people to blue cities or blue states? Why doesn’t Abbott send refugees to Mississippi, Oklahoma or Idaho? Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D) asked during a news conference Wednesday.

“To him, this is about politics regardless of the fear, anguish and challenges it brings to these refugees, but here in Illinois we refuse to stoop to the level of this man.” , Pritzker continued, signing a disaster proclamation that frees up state resources. and activates 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to assist.

Abbott’s office said Friday that Texas had transported more than 10,400 migrants since April, with more than 300 migrants arriving in Chicago.

Pritzker said Abbott does not notify Chicago or the state when they send migrants. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) told CNN on Saturday that some of the migrants were taken to hospital upon arrival.

“They were placed on the buses with delicate medical conditions that no one in Texas seemed to care about,” Lightfoot told the outlet. “It’s just not fair, and it’s not American.”

Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze called Democrats complaining about the relocations “absolute hypocrites.”

“Instead of complaining about keeping their sanctuary city promises, these hypocritical Democrats should be calling on President Biden to do his job and secure the border — something the president continues to fail to do,” Eze said.

Republican governors argue offshoring eases burden on border states after migrant arrests hit record highs earlier this year.

“They’re all concerned about a few dozen or hundreds of migrants coming into their town, and we’re getting that many per hour in almost every community across the border,” Abbott said. during an appearance on Fox News’ “Jesse Watters Primetime” on Tuesday. “So we deal with that all the time, and I just help our local communities.”

A majority of Texans — 52% — support Abbott’s busing of migrants, while 35% oppose the initiative, according to a poll conducted by the University of Texas at the Texas Politics Project in Austin.

Ducey’s spokesman, CJ Karamargin, said Arizona sent 1,809 migrants to DC, which he called the “source” of the problem with an “unwillingness” to help.

“We encourage anyone who wants to better understand what is going on to visit a small town on the border, like Yuma,” he said.

Meanwhile, DeSantis on Wednesday sent migrants on two charter flights at Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island known for its popularity among the wealthy.

“We’re not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to be able to get to a sanctuary jurisdiction, and yes, we’ll help facilitate that transportation so you can go to greener pastures,” DeSantis said during a Thursday. press conference.

Massachusetts State Senator Julian Cyr (D), who represents Martha’s Vineyard, called the thefts a “fundamentally racist tactic” in an interview, drawing comparisons to the “Reverse Freedom Rides”, when Southern segregationists attracted African Americans to northern cities under false pretenses in 1962.

The thefts were also condemned by the two Massachusetts Democratic senators, Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, who both called the “cruel” movement.

“The fact that human beings are being trafficked for political purposes is heinous,” Cyr said. “It also raises real questions about whether any laws have been broken here or not.”

The Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights group said its attorneys traveled to Martha’s Vineyard to investigate violations of state or federal human trafficking or kidnapping laws.

Cyr said a woman named “Perla” tricked migrants into boarding the flight by promising expedited work papers and accommodation.

It is unclear whether the migrants are undocumented or asylum seekers allowed to enter the country to await their immigration trial, or a combination of the two.

Yet an individual’s immigration status is determined by Department of Homeland Security agencies – state governments have little or no legal authority to expedite cases.

In a statement, DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske called the migrants “illegal immigrants” but did not elaborate on their immigration status.

“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,” she said.

Florida Democrats jumped on DeSantis’ decision, particularly as it impacted Venezuelan nationals fleeing the left-wing authoritarian regime of President Nicolás Maduro.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, DeSantis’ Democratic opponent, went after the Republican governor directly.

“When you are this inhumane in the way you treat human beings, you are not qualified to be the governor of anything”, said Christ.

And State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D), who is challenging Rep. María Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), said the move renders Florida Republicans’ claims of opposition to leftist authoritarianism moot. Latin America.

“After last night’s news, Republicans will never again be able to pretend they stand with the victims of communism. Taking advantage of people fleeing oppressive regimes and using them as political pawns to score cheap points with their audience of Fox News and the extreme fringes of their party is cruel and inhumane,” Taddeo said in a statement.

Vanessa Cárdenas, deputy director of the progressive immigration group America’s Voice, called the relocations “caravans 2.0,” a reference to Republicans snatching up large groups of migrants who traveled together to the US-Mexico border in recent years. years.

“Their hope is to score points on Fox and distract from the Republican decline in the 2022 polls,” Cárdenas said in a statement.

“Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott are competing for MAGA-world kudos for ‘owning the libraries,'” she continued. “In the process, they are underscoring to the rest of the electorate how cruel, dehumanizing and blatantly political their motives are.”

RJ Hauman, director of government relations and communications at the Federation for American Immigration Reform — a restrictionist group that wields considerable influence over immigration hawks in the GOP — applauded the relocations.

“It is beyond hypocrisy to see mayors getting mad at governors for transporting illegal immigrants to their so-called sanctuaries because it is ‘inhumane’, while they have remained silent on the Biden policies that incentivize the same people to put their lives in the hands of actual smugglers and cartels,” Hauman told The Hill.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

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