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As the number of migrants arriving at the southern border hits all-time highs, Republican governors are making waves by sending groups of unauthorized migrants to liberal sanctuary cities in the north.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent 48 mostly Venezuelan migrants to the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard last week. The same day, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent dozens of migrants on two buses from Texas to Washington D.C., where they were dropped off near Vice President Kamala Harris' official residence. Both D.C. and Martha's Vineyard are sanctuary communities, meaning that they limit local law enforcement from working with federal immigration authorities to arrest and deport unauthorized migrants.
Both governors made the moves on the grounds that southern states are being overwhelmed by illegal immigration, which they say is the result of liberal border policies. In response, a Texas sheriff announced an investigation of the flights to Martha's Vineyard, and several of the migrants sued DeSantis for allegedly misleading them for political reasons. Abbott has recently sent other groups of migrants to Chicago and New York City.
Meanwhile, U.S. Border Patrol said it encountered over 2.1 million migrants at the southern border in fiscal year 2022, a new record. In August, an Ipsos/NPR poll found that 54% of Americans say it's at least "somewhat true" that there's an "invasion" of migrants happening at the southern border.
Many on the right see the busing of migrants as justified for the same reasons that DeSantis and Abbott do, and some have branded leaders of sanctuaries like Martha's Vineyard as hypocrites for preaching tolerance but sending the migrants away once they arrived. Many on the left are also concerned about how the migrants have been treated upon arriving in sanctuary cities, especially how they've been housed and fed. Voices from the left often called the migrant busing a manipulative, partisan stunt that used migrants as political pawns.
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Snippets from the Left
New York Times
"Democrats have called the stunts cruel, and many migrants have been left at least temporarily homeless as their new host cities scramble to help them. But others, like Mr. Alejos, have called the free transportation a blessing. They are already employed and achieving some measure of stability. They have found jobs in construction, hospitality, retail, trucking and other sectors facing worker shortages in an economy still recovering from the impact of the pandemic."
"But if it’s clear that the people of Martha’s Vineyard or New York City or Washington, DC, don’t hate immigrants and will mobilize to welcome human beings who are innocent pawns in a political game, that doesn’t mean that they will put their weight behind the policies that are really needed to support the masses of migrants who want to come to the US for a better life."
Snippets from the Center
San Antonio Express-News (analysis)
"Gov. Greg Abbott says he’s sending a message to President Joe Biden by busing thousands of migrants from Texas border towns to D.C. But so far, it’s neither the Biden administration nor local officials who have borne the brunt of Abbott’s gambit."
"Nearly 8,000 migrants have arrived in New York City since May. While the influx of new people has tested city services, the process has been no cakewalk for those seeking asylum, either. 'We are lost,' one migrant, Euclides Pena, told NewsNation. Pena left his wife and family at home in Venezuela June 1, and embarked on a journey to the United States, along with his cousin and two brothers-in-law."
Snippets from the Right
"The Massachusetts state lawmaker who represents Martha’s Vineyard demanded an investigation Sunday into Governor Ron DeSantis' 'inhumane' decision to fly 50 migrants to the island. On Friday, the 50 migrants were relocated from the Massachusetts island to the military base on Cape Cod, where they are being housed in an emergency facility."
Martha’s Vineyard local calls on Obamas to open their $12M home to migrants
New York Post
"A longtime Martha’s Vineyard resident says she supports Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ move to relocate migrants to the vacation island as a way of highlighting the border crisis — and says the Obamas should open their $12 million home to the newcomers."