The media stunt is successful, it remains to be seen whether it will pay off politically. By sending thousands of migrants by bus and plane to Washington, New York, or a posh island in the north-east of the country, Republicans are trying to refocus the political battle on immigration, just weeks before the legislative elections.
The White House spokesperson on Thursday denounced a “shameful” and “cruel” maneuver. “It is a cold and premeditated political maneuver,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, accusing these tenors of the American right of using migrants as “pawns”.
On Thursday morning, two buses carrying migrants arrived near Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in Washington. A place obviously chosen on purpose, the Democratic official is in charge of the explosive immigration file at the White House. They had been sent by conservative Greg Abbott to campaign for his re-election in this state at the forefront of the wave of illegal immigration from Central American countries.
Vice President Harris says our border is ‘safe’ and denies that there is a crisis. We send migrants to his backyard to urge the Biden administration to do its job and secure the border, “the Texas governor tweeted. He claims he has already sent 10,000 migrants since April to Washington, New York and, most recently, to Chicago.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joins the movement
For Republicans it is a way to denounce the politics of President Joe Biden, accused of having turned the border with Mexico into a sieve, and of wanting to put immigration at the center of the election campaign of the mid-term elections in November.
On Wednesday, Florida’s influential Republican Governor Ron DeSantis joined this movement, claiming to send two migrant planes to the island of Martha’s Vineyard, a mythical vacation spot for the wealthy who hosted the Kennedys, Clintons or Obama. A group of about 50 Venezuelan migrants, including children, arrived on Wednesday on this island on the Atlantic coast of New England, a region full of elites often targeted by conservatives.
Although the Florida governor arranged for transportation, the planes were arriving from Texas and not his state, according to local newspaper MV Times and a local politician. “Migrants are disembarked on Martha’s Vineyard on charter flights from Texas. Many don’t know where they are. They say they were told they would get housing and jobs, “Local Democrat elected official Dylan Fernandes tweeted late Wednesday.
Ron DeSantis, also a candidate for re-election, is seen as a potential rival to former President Donald Trump in the race for the White House in 2024. “Martha’s Vineyard residents should be happy,” joked Wednesday on Twitter Christina Pushaw, of the Florida Governor’s Communications Team. “Illegal migrants will make the city more diverse, which is a strong point. No ? “
Immigration policy, an explosive topic in the United States, is even more so within weeks of the high-risk mid-term elections. Immigration is a favorite theme for Republicans, and the displacement of migrants in spectacular operations offers them the opportunity to put the debate back at the center of a chronicle dominated by the story of the documents found in Donald Trump, and with a democratic electorate galvanized by the Court Supreme turnaround on abortion.
Transporting these migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and Washington “was a necessity,” said Andy Biggs, Republican representative of Arizona, a state whose governor also sends migrant buses. “Democratic leaders must come down from their ivory tower and face reality. “
In contrast, New York Democratic Mayor Eric Adams promised Thursday to focus on welcoming, not rejection, migrants. “Exploiting vulnerable people as part of a political coup is outrageous and cruel,” said Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, where the island of Martha’s Vineyard is located.
Charlie Crist, Democratic opponent of Ron DeSantis in the run for governor in Florida, denounced a “political calculation” aimed at “serving fresh meat to his constituency”. The candidate denounced the price of this operation, saying Florida was spending “$ 12 million to get innocent immigrant children out of our state.”