Alexandra Hutzler, ABC News, September 15, 2022
The Biden White House on Thursday condemned Republican governors who this week escalated their strategy of busing — and now flying — migrants to Democratic cities in protest of the administration’s border policies.
Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis sent two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard late Wednesday evening, surprising state and local officials. Roughly 100 migrants aboard two buses sent by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott were dropped off in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’ Naval Observatory residence early Thursday morning.
DeSantis said the confrontational moves were a message to President Joe Biden and Harris to do their “damn job” and secure the border.
The White House and Democrats are calling the moves cruel, accusing the GOP leaders of creating “chaos.”
“There’s a legal way of doing this — for managing migrants,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during Thursday’s briefing with reporters. “Republican governors interfering in that process and using migrants as political pawns is shameful, is reckless, and just plain wrong.”
Jean-Pierre criticized the governors for appearing to give no notice to leaders on the ground.
“The fact that Fox News and not the Department of Homeland Security, the city or local NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were alerted about a plan to leave migrants, including children, on the side of a busy D.C. street makes clear that this is just a cruel premeditated political stunt,” Jean-Pierre said.
DeSantis said sending migrants to Democrat-led states was a response to their previous “virtue signaling” by declaring themselves sanctuary jurisdictions during former President Donald Trump’s years in office.
“We’re not a sanctuary state,” he said at Florida at a news conference.
Border state Republicans praised the migrant vans, arguing the crisis at the border is a problem that should be shouldered by the entire country.
Jean-Pierre said Republicans in Congress should instead focus on passing a long-term, comprehensive legislation to reform the immigration system.
“They deserve better than being left on the streets of D.C. or being left in Martha’s Vineyard,” the press secretary said of the migrants who’ve been transported. “They deserve a lot better than that.”