Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Texas sends two buses with migrants to the US Vice President’s home

Migrants stood outside the home of Kamala Harris in Washington, DC before helpers led them to a nearby church.

Two buses carrying migrants and asylum seekers have arrived near the home of United States Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, DC, in what critics have denounced as an attempt by Republicans to use migrants as “political pawns” ahead of the midterm elections.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Thursday that 100 migrants from Colombia, Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela were dropped off near Harris’ residence.

“Texas will continue to send migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, DC until the president [Joe] Biden and Border Czar Harris are stepping up and doing their jobs to secure the border,” Abbott said.

Harris was appointed last year by Biden, a Democrat, to lead his administration’s efforts to curb migration along the US’ southern border with Mexico, which has seen a surge in asylum seekers in recent months.

Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro, reporting from Harris’s home on Thursday, said about 100 people with few belongings got off the buses after a journey of more than 30 hours.

She said an infant and another diabetic were taken straight to the hospital. The others were taken to a nearby church, where they were given food and shelter before volunteers helped them reach their next destinations, Zhou-Castro said.

Aid workers who responded on the ground said, “This was yet another humiliation endured by those people trying to escape violence and poverty in Latin America in a journey that is already dehumanizing at times,” Zhou-Castro said.

Since April, Abbott has been bringing migrants from Texas to Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago — cities with Democratic mayors — as part of a political strategy to denounce the Biden administration’s immigration policies, which Abbott said are encouraging arrivals to his state.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has followed the same policy.

Republican governors say the effort is aimed at highlighting the record number of migrants attempting to enter the US via southern borders and sharing the burden of taking in asylum seekers.

Texas is often the first destination for migrants arriving from Mexico, and Abbott has said sending people to other parts of the country will take some of the pressure off of Texas’ border communities.

“We send migrants on [Harris’s] backyard to urge the Biden administration to do its job and secure the border,” he tweeted.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, also recently joined the effort. On Wednesday, he flew two planes carrying immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, an affluent summer vacation destination in the US state of Massachusetts.

“Yes, Florida can confirm that the two planes carrying illegal immigrants that arrived in Martha’s Vineyard today were part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to safe havens,” Taryn Fenske, the governor’s communications director, told Fox News Digital .

“The residents of Martha’s Vineyard should love this. They’re voting for Sanctuary Cities — they’re getting their own Sanctuary City,” Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for DeSantis’ reelection campaign, said on Twitter.

“Sanctuary Cities” is a term that refers to municipalities that do not cooperate with federal agencies that seek to detain or deport undocumented immigrants.

But several state and local officials, as well as migration rights advocates, have done so sentenced the Republican effort as “evil and inhuman”.

Earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot accused Abbott of “creating a human crisis” by sending “people — not cargo, not cargo, but people — across the country to an uncertain destination.”

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