Republican governors sent buses and planes of migrants to a posh northeastern island and Washington, D.C., on Thursday turned into a political battle in the United States, weeks before high-stakes congressional elections.
For months, local Republican officials, led by powerful Texas Governor Greg Abbott, have been busing migrants to Democratic strongholds across the country.
A way to denounce the policy of President Joe Biden, whom they accuse of having turned the border with Mexico into a sieve, and to try to place immigration at the center of the campaign for the mid-term elections in November.
On Thursday morning, two buses carrying migrants arrived near Vice President Kamala Harris residence in Washington, D.C. The location was obviously deliberate, as the Democratic leader is in charge of the explosive issue of immigration in the White House.
They had been sent by the very conservative Greg Abbott, who was campaigning for re-election in this state, which is on the front line of the wave of illegal immigration from Central American countries.
Vice President Harris claims our border is ‘secure’ and denies there is a crisis. We are sending migrants to her backyard to urge the Biden administration to do its job and secure the border,” tweeted the Texas governor.
He claims to have already sent 10,000 migrants since April to Washington, New York and most recently Chicago.
On Wednesday, the influential Republican governor of Florida Ron DeSantis joined this movement, claiming to send two planes of migrants to the island of Martha’s Vineyard, a mythical resort for the wealthy that has hosted the Kennedys, the Clintons or the Obamas.
A group of about 50 Venezuelan migrants, including children, arrived Wednesday on this island on the Atlantic coast of New England, an elite-rich region often targeted by conservatives.
Although Florida’s governor arranged the transport, the planes arrived from Texas, not his state, according to the local newspaper MV Times and a local politician.
Migrants are being landed on Martha’s Vineyard by chartered flights from Texas. Many do not know where they are. They say they were told they would receive housing and jobs, local Democratic elected official Dylan Fernandes tweeted Wednesday night.
Ron DeSantis, also up for re-election, is seen as a potential rival for former President Donald Trump in the 2024 race for the White House.
Martha’s Vineyard residents should be thrilled, Christina Pushaw of the Florida governor’s communications team quipped on Twitter Wednesday. “Illegal migrants will make the town more diverse, which is a strength. No ?
Immigration policy, an explosive topic in the United States, is even more so a few weeks before the mid-term elections with high stakes.
Immigration is a favorite issue for Republicans, and moving migrants in spectacular operations gives them an opportunity to put the debate back in the spotlight.
Transporting these migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and Washington, D.C. was a necessity, commented Andy Biggs, a Republican representative from Arizona, whose governor also sends migrant buses.
Democratic leaders need to come down from their ivory towers and face reality.
In contrast, Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams pledged Thursday to focus on welcoming, not rejecting, migrants.
Exploiting vulnerable people as part of a political stunt is revolting and cruel, said Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, where the island of Martha’s Vineyard is located.
Charlie Crist, a Democratic challenger to Ron DeSantis in the race for the Florida governor’s seat, denounced a political calculation aimed at serving up fresh meat to his electoral base.
The candidate denounced the price tag, saying Florida was spending $12 million to send innocent immigrant children away from our state.