Republican governors in three border states have sent nearly 13,000 migrants to Democrat-led cities in protest of President Biden’s immigration policies.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) led the charge, sending migrants north as early as April of this year, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) initiated his own transport of migrants this week.
Democrats are criticizing the busing as a “political stunt” by the three Republican governors, two of which are up for reelection this year.
“There is a process in place to manage migrants at the border, and Republican governors meddling in that process and using desperate migrants as political tools is shameful and it is wrong,” a White House official said in an email to The Hill last month.
Here are the four Democrat-led cities that have so far been targeted by the Republican governors:
Abbott first sent a bus of migrants to the nation’s capital in April and has since sent more than 8,000 migrants on over 190 buses. Ducey soon followed Abbott’s lead, sending Arizona’s first bus of migrants to D.C. in May. He has sent just over 1,800 migrants on 50 buses since the spring.
Receiving close to 10,000 migrants total, D.C. has faced the largest group of migrants. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public emergency earlier this month and has requested the activation of the D.C. National Guard to help the city manage the influx of migrants, an ask the Defense Department has denied.
“We know that they are targeting Washington, D.C., not because of any particular ties that the people boarding the buses have to Washington, D.C., but they want to make a point to the federal government,” Bowser said last week in a press conference.
Abbott also recently sent two buses to Vice President Harris’s Naval Observatory residence in D.C.
“VP Harris claims our border is ‘secure’ & denies the crisis. We’re sending migrants to her backyard to call on the Biden Administration to do its job & secure the border,” Abbott said on Twitter on Thursday.
New York City, N.Y.
Texas has sent more than 2,500 migrants to New York City on over 45 buses since it began sending groups of migrants on Aug. 5.
New York City mayor Eric Adams (D) hit back at Abbott over the issue, calling for Texas voters to oust the governor in this year’s midterm elections.
“I am deeply contemplating taking a busload of New Yorkers to go to Texas and do some good old-fashioned door knocking. Because for the good of America, we have to get him out of office,” Adams said last month.
Abbott is up for reelection, fighting to keep his Senate seat in a tight race against Democrat nominee Beto O’Rourke.
Adams has followed Bowser in requesting federal assistance
Migrants first began arriving in Chicago on Aug. 31 and continue to arrive daily, according to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D). Abbott has sent more than 600 migrants on over 10 buses in the weeks since.
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) has criticized Abbott over the move, calling him “un-American.”
“You don’t treat people with this lack of respect, lack of dignity, putting them on buses to an unknown destination with very little food, very little water,” Lightfoot said last week.
Pritzker issued an emergency disaster declaration on Wednesday and activated 75 members of the Illinois National Guard to help respond to the influx of migrants.
Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
DeSantis on Wednesday sent two planes carrying about 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., an island south of Cape Cod.
The planes reportedly arrived from Texas, though they were chartered by the Florida governor. Abbott in Texas has thanked DeSantis for “the support in responding to this national crisis,” but denied involvement in the move.
DeSantis, a rumored presidential candidate for 2024, had last year named the island, where former President Obama owns an estate, as a potential destination in his effort to transport migrants out of Florida.
He has also mentioned sending migrants to Delaware, Biden’s home state.
“All those people in D.C. and New York were beating their chests when Trump was president, saying they were so proud to be sanctuary jurisdictions, saying how bad it was to have a secure border,” DeSantis said during a news conference Thursday.
“The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they all of a sudden go berserk and they’re so upset that this is happening.”
DeSantis said on Friday that the Martha’s Vineyard planes were “just the beginning” of his efforts to relocate migrants.