The GOP is defending the move, which rights groups are calling a political stunt ahead of the midterm elections. what exactly is going on
Washington, D.C., – For months, the Republican governor of Texas has been sending asylum-seekers on buses to Democratic-run states — without warning or coordination — to draw attention to the rising number of migrants entering the United States via the Mexican border.
Arizona followed shortly thereafter, and recently the governor of Florida has joined the effort by sending about 50 migrants from Texas on planes to a wealthy island in Massachusetts. Officials say the migrants have been promised jobs and financial support, although none have been provided.
Republican governors blame President Joe Biden’s immigration policies for the spike in arrivals at the border and say their campaign is necessary to share the burden of taking in asylum seekers.
But with midterm elections approaching in November, pro-migrant advocates say the move is a cruel political ploy to win votes.
Al Jazeera takes a look at what’s going on:
So far, more than 13,000 migrants have been affected by the Republican lawmaker’s campaign.
Texas says it has bused more than 8,000 migrants to Washington, DC and another 2,500 to New York City since April. Since the end of August, more than 600 migrants have also been sent to Chicago from Texas, the state said.
According to local media reports, Arizona has bused 2,000 migrants into the nation’s capital.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also took credit for flying about 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard earlier this month.
According to officials and volunteers, many of the migrants are from Venezuela, which has experienced a mass exodus in recent years amid poor socioeconomic conditions and increasing violence.
Others came from Nicaragua, Colombia, Cuba and Haiti, among others.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said the Biden administration is to blame for the growing number of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border and that Democratic-led states to the north should share the burden of hosting them .
Texas, which borders Mexico, is often the first state where asylum seekers land.
“The Biden-Harris administration continues to ignore and deny the historic crisis on our southern border that has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for nearly two years,” Abbott said in a Sept. 15 statement.
Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have dispatched buses to transport the migrants and asylum seekers to other parts of the country in more than 30-hour journeys.
However, the campaign intensified this month when Florida’s DeSantis flew migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in private planes.
This has raised questions about the legality of these migrant renditions, as US media reported that the people sent to Massachusetts – most of whom were from Venezuela – were recruited by another migrant in Texas and tricked into believing they were doing so Reaching the island would receive housing, work and other assistance.
It remains unclear whether US or international law was violated, but the effort is already being challenged in court.
Earlier this week, a Texas county sheriff announced that he had opened a criminal investigation into the migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters that the 48 migrants were “lured under false pretences” and “stranded unceremoniously in Martha’s Vineyard … for nothing more than a photo op.”
The following day, Alianza Americas, a coalition of 53 migrant-led organizations, and three migrants who were flown to Massachusetts filed a class-action lawsuit against DeSantis and other Florida state officials for a “premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal plan,” which aimed at “advancing their own personal, financial and political interests”.