Undocumented immigrants in the United States are at the center of a political battle in that country.
For months now, local Republican officials, including powerful Texas Governor Greg Abbott, have been moving immigrants to Democratic strongholds across the United States.
They do so 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 put immigration at the center of the campaign for the mid-term elections on November 8.
These practices of sending migrants from the south to the north of the country have become a political battle, a few weeks before the legislative elections in which the Democrats may lose control of Congress.
“Republicans make political maneuvers with human beings, they use them as pawns,” Biden denounced on the night of Thursday, September 15, on the sidelines of a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala.
“What they’re doing is wrong. It’s un-American. It’s irresponsible,” he added. Earlier that day, his spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, had described the instrumentalization of migrants by Republicans as “cruel.”
The unexpected arrival of immigrants
A group of about 50 Venezuelan immigrants, including children, arrived in Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, September 14.
“Immigrants are currently being brought to Martha’s Vineyard by charter flights from Texas. Many don’t know where they are. They say they were told they would be given housing and jobs,” Dylan Fernandes, a local Democratic lawmaker, tweeted Wednesday night.
He said that the inhabitants had not been warned in advance of the arrival of these people.
The governor of Massachusetts, a Democratic stronghold, announced last Friday that the group of 50 migrants would be temporarily received at a nearby military base,
Despite local mobilization to help the new arrivals, the island “is not equipped to provide permanent housing and state officials have put in place a plan for a comprehensive humanitarian response,” said a statement from the Massachusetts governor’s office. Charlie Baker.
On Friday, authorities offered to send these migrants “to a new temporary shelter” at Joint Base Cape Cod. “Families will not be separated,” the statement said, noting that this base had previously served as an emergency shelter and that they would have access to health care and legal services.
Before being transferred to Cape Cod, some migrants said they did not know they would be sent to an island.
About Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard Island is an exclusive vacation spot located south of Boston that received the Kennedys, the Clintons and the Obamas, according to the local newspaper MV Times.
Who sent the immigrants?
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has claimed responsibility for sending two migrant planes to a luxurious island in the northeastern United States, becoming the latest politician to date to fly immigrants to Democratic strongholds across the country.
Although the governor of Florida organized this transport, the migrant planes arrived from Texas and not from his state, according to the newspaper.
The move comes as DeSantis is seeking re-election in November and has been mentioned as a possible 2024 presidential candidate.
DeSantis first floated the idea of sending migrants to the island late last year. He also suggested at the time that he could send immigrants to Delaware, the home state of President Joe Biden, a Democrat whose immigration policies are opposed by many Republicans.
In its last session, the Florida legislature appropriated $12 million to transport immigrants living in the United States illegally elsewhere, DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said in a statement.
“States like Massachusetts, New York and California will better facilitate the care of these people that they have invited into our country,” Fenske said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot has also carried out actions of this type. The also Republican claims to have sent 10,000 migrants since April to Washington, New York and, more recently, to Chicago.
The most recent shipment was on Thursday, September 15, when two buses with migrants arrived near the residence in Washington of Vice President Kamala Harris, whom Biden entrusted to deal with the explosive immigration issue.
They were sent by the very conservative Abbott, campaigning for his re-election in Texas, at the forefront 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,” the Texas governor tweeted.
deceit and promises
A lawsuit filed Tuesday against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis accuses him of tricking 50 migrants into getting on a plane last week bound for a posh island in the northeastern United States.
The class action lawsuit, filed in Massachusetts by the migrant rights group Alianza Americas and three unidentified Venezuelans representing the entire group, said the migrants had been lured from Texas shelters onto a chartered flight with false promises of jobs. of work and assistance, as well as $10 gift certificates from McDonald’s.
The lawsuit said DeSantis and several other Florida officials had also “impermissibly interfered with the Federal Government’s exclusive control over immigration to further an unlawful goal and personal political agenda.”
The advocacy group involved in the lawsuit said last week’s private charter flight cost about $615,000.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial assessing punitive damages.
With information from AFP and EFE