Migrants: The G.O.P’s Latest Political Pawns


By Christopher Buchanan


WASHINGTON D.C. — As immigration tensions rise and the issue reaches a point of deadlock, Republicans have employed a new, inhumane strategy to garner Democratic attention: they are sending asylum seekers to Democratic doorsteps.


Vice President Kamala Harris’ home and the Massachusetts island Martha’s Vineyard were just two of the recent Northern Democratic regions to which Republican governors have sent over 10,000 South American, Central American, and a small group of West African migrants by plane and bus since the first of these instances in April per Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s office. The key figures of this retaliatory movement against the Democratic Party are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R).


Washington D.C has been newly declared as “an unofficial border town” by Tatiana Laborde, Director of SAMU, an nonprofit organization concerned with humanitarian assistance for migrants. D.C Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has requested assistance through the deployment of the National Guard twice for what she has recently called a “public emergency.” Her most recent plea was denied on Aug. 22.


Both of these requests were denied by the Pentagon after it was determined that a mobilization for a migration issue would impede troop readiness. 


The Republican governors pushing this movement have stated that their intentions are to amass Northern Democratic awareness of the current border crisis. After sending a bus of between 75-100 Venezuelan migrants to the Naval Observatory in Washington and Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence and taking credit for doing so, Governor Abbott wrote in a tweet, “We’re sending migrants to her backyard to call on the Biden Administration to do its job & secure the border.” 


Vice President Harris criticized the political stunt. “I think it is the height of irresponsibility much less, just frankly a dereliction of duty when you are an elected leader, to play those kinds of games with human life, and human beings,” she stated in reference to Abbott. 


There has been a mix of responses from Republican officials otherwise. 


Certain Republicans seem to share the sentiment that the transportation of migrants deeper into the United States is more problematic than provocative. Tony Gonzalez, representative for Texas’s 23rd district, has condemned Abbott’s actions, stating in a tweet, “People who DO NOT qualify for asylum should be sent back to their country of origin not bused around the U.S. as political capital.”


Democrats seem to share a view of Republican unethicality. President Biden stated recently at the Gala of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, “Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props” for political gain. 


Many Venezuelans were allegedly informed that if they were to get on buses and be transported to these Democratic hotspots, they would be receiving food and housing assistance. This occurs amid a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. 


One Venezuelan migrant, Dario Maldondo, told the Associated PressIt is like a war between the party of the governor of Texas and the party of Biden.” And these Venezuelan migrants have been caught in the crossfire. 


Patricia Andrade, founder of the Miami nonprofit Raíces Venezolanas that focuses on migration assistance for Venezuelans, has stated that due to the false promises, she has noticed that “many of the Venezuelans who come end up in the streets” due to DeSantis’s and Abbott’s actions. 


Churches, certain civil rights groups, and state immigration organizations have been offering as much assistance as possible in New York and Washington D.C. 


Upon the reception of migrants at Martha’s Vineyard on the morning of Sep. 17, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre commented in a debriefing that the fact that “the migrants, including children, who arrived in Martha’s Vineyard, were misled about where they were being taken and what would be provided when they arrived is also deeply alarming,” condemning the Republican governors’ actions on behalf of the White House.


Questions about whether these migrants’ civil rights have been upheld are being raised, as are questions about whether DeSantis was motivated by political benefit. 


Amid criticism from the White House, DeSantis stood by his decision to send migrants to Northern States. DeSantis claimed that he sought to “protect” Florida. 


We are not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction, and yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures,” the Florida governor commented.


DeSantis cites failure of the Biden administration to secure the US-Mexico border as his motivation for collaborating with Abbott to send migrants to Washington D.C, New York, and Massachusetts.


Following the movement of these migrants, President Biden has sought action under the pandemic Title 42 concerned with expulsion into Mexico; in essence, he is attempting to send asylum seekers from Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua into Mexican states for asylum. 


This occurs at the dawn of the midterm elections, in which Abbott and DeSantis are both running for re-election in their respective states.

About The Author

Christopher Buchanan is a second-year English student attending the University of California. Amidst the pursuit of a technical writing career, Christopher finds himself writing and listening to music constantly.

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  1. Keith Olson

    DeSantis and Abbott have shown the hypocrisy of the sanctuary cities and states by sending them immigrants then sitting back while the rest of the country watches them complain about it.


  2. David Greenwald

    From the Hill:

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is facing mounting scrutiny in his home state over his controversial decision last week to fly dozens of mostly Venezuelan migrants to the elite resort island of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

    While the move was lauded by conservatives as a powerful protest of the Biden administration’s approach to border security, it has sparked a wave of criticism from Democrats and members of Florida’s vast Hispanic community, a politically influential force in the Sunshine State.


    1. Keith Olson

      wave of criticism from Democrats and members of Florida’s vast Hispanic community, a politically influential force in the Sunshine State.

      Oh what a surprise, Democrats and Hispanic Democrats are criticizing DeSantis.  Did you really think it would be different?

  3. Walter Shwe

    The Atlantic
    How Democrats Can Turn the Tables on DeSantis
    Republicans’ cruel immigration tactics present an opportunity for blue cities.
    By Ross Barkan
    “If the Biden administration wants to get ambitious about reviving the ailing cities of the Rust Belt, federal officials could actively help migrants relocate there. The federal government could coordinate with mayors and governors ahead of time, instead of busing migrants without warning to politically expedient locales, like DeSantis and Abbott did. Cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis have long bled residents and would be well served with a new class of immigrants enthusiastic about finding work and wanting to remain in a country far more stable than their homeland. Refugees, in great enough numbers, could begin to repopulate vacant neighborhoods, launch new businesses, and eventually create new generations of taxpayers. Some may even decide they want, in the years to come, to move to Florida or Texas. Perhaps by then, the governors of those states will perceive them, simply, as Americans.”

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