EDGARTOWN, Massachusetts (AP) — Republican governors have escalated partisan tactics of sending immigrants to Democratic strongholds without prior warning, including wealthy Massachusetts summer enclaves and the home of Vice President Kamala Harris. , is taunting the leaders of the immigrant-friendly “sanctuary.” He stoked opposition to the city and the Biden administration’s border policy.
Governors of Texas and Arizona have sent thousands of immigrants on buses to New York, Chicago and Washington, DC in recent months. But the latest surprise move, including two of his flights to Martha’s Vineyard, which Florida paid for on Wednesday, has reached a new level of political drama that critics have derided as inhumane.
Upon arrival at Martha’s Vineyard, the home of former President Barack Obama, immigrants, mostly from Venezuela, were given information on where to eat, live, take care of their health, and find work.
A vacation island south of Boston, home to many blue-collar workers year-round, seemed to absorb dozens of arrivals without much hindrance.
Elizabeth Forcarelli, chief executive of the nonprofit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, was finishing work when she saw 48 Venezuelans with luggage and backpacks approach her office. They had a red folder with her organization’s brochure.
“They were told they had jobs.
Immigrants played soccer on the porch of their makeshift shelter on Thursday or hung out in small groups while being met by visiting attorneys who offered free advice and other service providers.
Volunteers stopped donating and volunteers signed up to offer whatever help they could.
Domingo Garcia, president of the National League of Latin American Citizens, said some of the immigrants bused from Texas to Washington, D.C., were “scammed” — a claim the Associated Press has not confirmed, and that Texas and Arizona officials denied it.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the flight to Martha’s Vineyard is part of an effort to “transfer illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.” The Florida legislature has allocated $12 million for him to move “unauthorized aliens” out of state.
DeSantis’ office did not answer questions about where the migrants boarded the plane or how they were tricked into traveling.
Massachusetts Senator Julian Sill told the Vineyard Gazette that one plane originated in San Antonio, raising questions about whether immigrants have ever set foot in Florida. Flight tracking data shows the flight departed in San He Antonio and stopped in Crestview, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina before landing at Martha’s Vineyard.
More than 100 migrants from Colombia, Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela were on board two immigrant buses from Texas that arrived outside Harris’ residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory early Thursday morning. .
“The Biden-Harris administration continues to ignore and deny the historic crisis on the southern border that has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for almost two years,” Texas said. Governor Greg Abbott said. signature problem.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has openly criticized DeSantis and Abbott’s conservative policies, told the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday that shipping immigrants across state lines as a “political prop” is legal. requested an investigation into whether it violated
“Transporting family members, including children, across state lines under cover is morally reprehensible, but it can also be illegal,” Newsom wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. wrote, which he also posted on his Twitter account.
Newsom, without naming DeSantis or Abbott, suggested the federal government could file charges of kidnapping and a “civil rights conspiracy.”
After crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, asylum-seeking migrants spend time in U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities along the border, where they are usually released back to the U.S. and await resolution of their cases. Republicans argue that Biden’s policies are encouraging immigration to the United States. Democrats say the Trump-era policy of forcing immigrants to wait to apply for asylum in Mexico is inhumane.
White House press secretary Carine Jean-Pierre said Thursday that federal officials were not informed in advance by Republican governors who sent immigrants to Massachusetts and Washington.
“We’re talking about children. We’re talking about families who have been promised a home, promised a job, been put on a bus and driven to a place they don’t know.” A cruel and premeditated political stunt.”
Since April, Abbott has bussed 7,900 immigrants to Washington, then 2,200 to New York and 300 to Chicago. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has bussed more than 1,800 immigrants to Washington since May. Passengers must sign a waiver that free travel is optional.
DeSantis appears to be taking this strategy to a new level by choosing Martha’s Vineyard, a port town of about 15,000 people, using airplanes. Far less prepared for a large influx of immigrants than New York or Washington.
Texas and Florida infuriated officials in destination cities for not providing passenger manifests, estimated arrival times, and other information to facilitate preparations. Arizona, by contrast, is working with officials in other cities.
President Joe Biden faces the same challenges as his predecessor, former President Donald Trump. The US asylum system is crumbling, and economic and social conditions are forcing people from dozens of countries to flee.
Between October and July, U.S. officials blocked immigrants from Mexico about two million times. This was almost 50% more than in the same period last year. Many have been released in the United States to pursue immigration cases as U.S. authorities struggle to deport them to their home countries under pandemic-era rules that deny them the opportunity to seek asylum. increase.
Some Republicans celebrated the latest deliveries of immigrants from border states.
“Welcome to the southern border state of Massachusetts,” tweeted Jeremy Redfern, spokesperson for DeSantis.
Stephen Miller, chief architect of Trump’s immigration policy, said bringing “millions” of immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard should turn the island of about 15,000 into a “modern paradise”. I was.
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Christ said DeSantis was treating immigrants inhumanely. “It’s amazing to me what he’s willing to do for political gain,” Christo said.
Talia Inlender, deputy director of the UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy, appears to violate Florida law that flights to Martha’s Vineyard are limited to “unauthorized aliens.” said.
“These people are not unauthorized,” she said. “They never fly under the radar.”
Associated Press writers Steve LeBlanc of Boston, Sung Min Kim of Washington, Brendan Farrington of Tallahassee, Florida, Gisella Salomon of Miami, Anita Snow of Phoenix, Paul Weber of Austin, Texas, California Contributed by Adam Beam of Sacramento, USA.