Why are Republican governors relocating migrants across America | News about migration

Washington DC, – For months, the Republican Governor of Texas has been busing asylum seekers to Democratic-run states – without warning or prior coordination – to draw attention to the number of The number of migrants entering the United States across the border with Mexico is increasing.

Arizona soon followed, and more recently, the governor of Florida joined the effort by flying about 50 immigrants from Texas on a plane to an affluent Massachusetts island. Officials Speak migrants were promised jobs and financial support when there were none.

Republican governors blame President Joe Biden’s immigration policies to the surge in border arrivals and say their campaign is needed to share the burden of receiving asylum seekers.

But with midterm elections looming in November, immigrant advocates see the move as a ruthless political act to win votes.

Al Jazeera see what’s going on:

How many people have taken the bus or flew across the United States?

So far, more than 13,000 migrants have been affected by Republican lawmakers’ campaign.

Texas says it has brought more than 8,000 migrants to Washington, DC and another 2,500 to New York City since April. More than 600 migrants from Texas have also been sent to Chicago since late August, the state said.

According to local media reports, Arizona has brought 2,000 migrants to the nation’s capital.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also took credit for bringing about 50 immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard earlier this month.

Where do the migrants come from?

According to officials and volunteers, many of the migrants come from Venezuela, which has seen a The mass exodus in recent years amid dire socioeconomic conditions and increased violence.

Others are from Nicaragua, Colombia, Cuba and Haiti, among other countries.

How do Republican lawmakers justify their campaign?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said the Biden administration is responsible for the growing number of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border and that the northern states, run by Democrats, should share the burden of repatriation. receive them.

Texas, which borders Mexico, is often the first state asylum seekers arrive.

“The Biden-Harris administration continues to ignore and deny the historic crisis at our southern border that has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for nearly two years,” Abbott said in a statement. statement on September 15.

A group of mostly Venezuelan migrants were taken by bus from Texas to the home of US Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, DC, this month [File: Marat Sadana/Reuters]

How are people moving across America?

Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey sent buses to transport migrants and asylum-seekers on their more than 30-hour journey to other parts of the country.

However, the campaign intensified this month, when Florida’s DeSantis took the migrants on a private jet to Martha’s Vineyard.

That has raised questions about the legitimacy of these migrant transfers, as US media have reported that those sent to Massachusetts – mostly from Venezuela – were recruited by an immigrant. other residents in Texas and believe that when they arrive on the island, they will be provided with housing, work, and other support.

So is this legal?

It is not yet clear whether any international or US law was violated, but the effort has been challenged in court.

Earlier this week, a county sheriff in Texas announced that he had opened a criminal investigation into the emigration flights to Martha’s Vineyard. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters that 48 migrants were “seduced into impersonation” and “unlawfully trapped in Martha’s Vineyard… just because of a photo”.

The next day, Alianza Americas, a coalition of 53 migrant-led organizations, and three migrants who had flown to Massachusetts filed a class-action lawsuit. litigation against DeSantis and other Florida state officials for what they said was a “premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme” to “advance their personal, financial, and political interests.”

But DeSantis covered the flights. “Immigrants are ready to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless and ‘left to fend for themselves.’ Florida gave them an opportunity to find greener pastures in a reserve that yielded more resources for them, as we expected,” his office said in a statement.

Migrants in Martha's Vineyard
Migrants wait outside the City of San Antonio Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas [Jordan Vonderhaar/Reuters]

How have the receiving cities responded?

Washington, DC, New York and Chicago have struggled to cope with the arrivals. Local leaders denounced Republican governors and called on the Biden administration for federal support.

On Thursday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city would open a so-called “Humanitarian Emergency and Relief Center” to assist migrants arriving from Texas. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has set up a website for donations and volunteers.

Earlier this month, Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C., declared a public health emergency for arrivals, and on September 20, the city council voted unanimously to create an Office new $10 million Migration Services department.

Bowser said the new office will be responsible for welcoming migrants and providing them with temporary shelter, food, medical assistance and transportation to their final destinations. She had previously made two requests to the National Guard for help, but both were denied by the Pentagon.

Why were those cities eliminated?

Washington, DC, New York City and Chicago are run by Democratic Party leaders.

They are also known as “City of Sanctuary,” which means that city officials will not ask residents about their immigration status or deny their services on the basis of that status, nor will they do not share that information with federal immigration authorities.

The holy cities are targeted by former US President Donald Trump, who threatened to pull funding for their immigration policy.

What did Biden say about the current Republican campaign?

Biden blasted the effort, calling it “reckless” and “non-American.”

“The Republican Party is playing politics with people, using them as props,” he said on September 15. “What they’re doing is simply wrong… And we have a process in place to do that. Managing migrants at the border. We’re working to make sure it’s safe, orderly and humane.

“Republican officials should not interfere with that process by performing these political stunts,” Biden added.

Migrants board a Border Patrol van after being processed in Eagle Pass, Texas [File: Brandon Bell/Getty Images via AFP]

How have migrants been treated?

Local organizations, charities and volunteer groups have joined to provide food, shelter, transportation and other forms of support to migrants and asylum seekers. Many have also donated items and money or volunteered to host migrants in their homes.

But the journey, especially for young children and the elderly, is arduous, and some people have been hospitalized upon arrival. Most of the migrants are traveling with little belongings and little money, which makes them dependent on aid.

How have migrant rights groups reacted?

Advocacy groups have criticized Republican governors – especially Florida-sponsored flights – for a campaign they see as mocking and cruel.

“This is nothing but a ruthless political stunt. Asylum is a human right and is legal under U.S. and international law,” said Paul R Chavez, senior supervisory attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Immigration Justice Project. said in a statement September 16.

“The abuse of desperate children and families as political pawns is a failure of leadership and inconsistent with the values ​​of our nation.”

America Voice, an immigrant advocacy group, also called the effort a deliberate attack on people of color. “Transporting vulnerable migrants, including children, across the United States is a calculated, systematic attack on a target group—here, skin immigrants. color, many of them are applying for legal asylum in the US,” David Leopold, the group’s legal counsel, said in a statement.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott defended the transportation campaign [File: LM Otero/AP Photo]

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