The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection accused Republican governors of enticing migrants to come to the U.S. by bussing them to major cities, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have all transported migrants out of state, usually to major Democrat-led cities.
But CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said these governors are only making their immigration problems worse.
“It’s safe to say what’s going on is a pull factor, which is somewhat ironic given the criticism from some of these same governors involved in this about various pull factors that they claim already exist,” he told the Times.
Magnus said word has gotten around on social media, arguing it is enticing “when migrants hear that there are buses that will take them to locations where they are told they will receive benefits and jobs.”
A migrant named Daniel, who was flown to Martha’s Vineyard on a flight ordered by DeSantis, said he received a message from a friend a few days later asking whether social media rumors that migrants can get a lot of help are true.
Daniel told the Times that people back home in Venezuela believe the U.S. will offer them free rides to major cities.
“Any person would be encouraged,” Daniel said.
Amy Fischer, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA said that even though the efforts have been carried out “with the utmost ill intentions, the reality is that it’s a service.”
“People are not fleeing and trying to exercise their human right to seek safety because of a free bus ride,” she said. “That kind of political posturing is precisely why we are in this situation in which our politicians are playing political football on both sides of the aisle, rather than focusing on the needs of communities and the needs of people seeking safety on our shores.”
Governors push back:
Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze told the Times that the governor started the “bus mission” in response to pleas for help from border communities.
“Instead of their hypocritical complaints about Texas providing much-needed relief to our overrun and overwhelmed border communities, the Biden Administration needs to step up and do their jobs to secure the border — something they continue failing to do,” Eze said in a statement.