(CNN Spanish) — So far, nearly 12,000 migrants have been bussed from the border states of Texas and Arizona — run by Republicans opposed to President Joe Biden’s immigration policies — to the cities of Washington, New York and Chicago. A new actor was added to the controversy this week: Florida. Here we explain the keys to understanding what’s going on.
Two buses with migrants They arrived this Thursday From Texas to the US Naval Observatory in Washington, home of Vice President Kamala Harris. The volunteers who cooperated with the reception of the immigrants did not expect this. So far, buses have stopped around Union Station in the nation’s capital.
“Vice President Harris confirms our border is ‘secure’ and denies crisis,” tweeted Gov. Greg Abbott, a key promoter of sending migrants to the Northeast. “We’re sending immigrants into your backyard to tell the Biden administration to do its job and secure the border.”
This message perfectly sums up the conflict between the Republican governors of the South and the Democratic federal government. Those left in the middle of the political fray are precisely the immigrants who came to America, often after being surrounded by journeys and dangers.
Who are these migrants and where are they going?
Typically, once federal authorities process immigrants who come to the United States seeking asylum, they are released from custody and allowed to move across the country while judicial processes continue to determine whether or not they can stay in the United States. Publication usually takes place in Texas and other border states.
On an already troubled border, the United States has recently been grappling with an upsurge of Venezuelan migrants, who have fled the worsening situation at home in large numbers. Fragile relations between the United States and Venezuela prevent deportations of some, including asylum seekers.
Immigrants are generally responsible for covering the costs of their transfers through the United States while they await a judicial decision. However, for months the state of Texas has been subsidizing buses from the state to northern cities without paying for them. Arizona, led by Republican Doug Ducey, has also implemented this policy.
Buses stop in several towns along the Northeast route, allowing those with friends and family elsewhere to meet them. Otherwise, they will reach the ultimate goal. The first city chosen by the Republicans was Washington, then New York was added and recently Chicago.
In the last week of August, the Abbott administration reported that Texas had sent about 9,000 immigrants to Washington and New York. The surgery was expensive for him: the government spent more than that $12 million In their efforts since August 9, according to statistics from the state’s Emergency Management Unit.
As of last week, the Texas governor had sent more than 7,900 immigrants on more than 190 buses to Washington, more than 2,200 immigrants on more than 40 buses to New York City, and more than 300 immigrants on more than five buses to Chicago.
Add this Arizona: Duce’s office told CNN earlier this month that since March they have relocated more than 1,500 immigrants to Washington.
Why? Arguments of Political Controversy
Abbott, a staunch critic of Biden’s immigration policies, began sending immigrants to Washington as an embarrassment to the administration. Days earlier, his office said busing migrants would provide “much-needed relief” to their “overwhelming” communities.
Before the movement of immigrants began, “Texas and Arizona alone bore the burden of all the confusion and trouble,” the governor said in August. “Now, the rest of America can understand exactly what’s going on.”
Rhetoric is immense. Basically, what he wants to show is, in his view, Biden’s failure to “secure” the border.
Democrats have echoed his claim. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, for example, criticized Abbott and Ducey for creating a “growing humanitarian crisis”.
How did cities respond?
In cities, governments, nonprofits, and volunteers have joined forces to welcome immigrants. But the truth is, they don’t always seem to have the resources to take care of them.
Most immigrants to New York end up in the city’s homeless shelter system, which housed more than 50,000 people as of early September. New York is using 17 hotels as emergency shelters, a city official told CNN.
From April to early September, the city processed about 8,800 immigrants into its shelter system and about 6,700 are still there, a city official told CNN. That number includes more than 1,000 children (but many of this total came on their own with the financial help of non-profit organizations, not necessarily on buses).
In Washington, Mayor Bowser It declared a public health emergency last week Relocations from Texas and Arizona can quickly mobilize the resources needed to serve those coming to the city. He also announced a new government office to provide migrants with basic needs including food, transport, emergency medical care and transportation to connect people with resettlement services.
Is it legal to bus immigrants like this?
Many, including New York Mayor Eric Adams, have accused the Abbott administration of forcing asylum seekers onto city-bound buses and failing to coordinate with city officials to relocate people.
Abbott’s office has responded in several statements that people moving to New York came of their own free will and signed waivers acknowledging their fate. It is not clear whether they were given other options.
“To board a bus or plane, immigrants must voluntarily carry and show Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents,” the office said.
The department’s secretary, Alejandro Mayorgas, took aim at Abbott’s policies, saying they would disrupt the federal immigrant processing system. He also criticized the governor’s lack of coordination with central government officials. Mayorkas said it’s “problematic” that an official like Abbott is acting “unilaterally.”
New York officials, for their part, have condemned the conditions of the journey, saying the migrants on those buses are hungry, thirsty and “often sick”.
A new actor in the controversy: Florida
A new actor was added to the controversy this week: Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen by some as a potential contender for the 2024 presidential election.
Florida It sent two planes carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts on Wednesday as part of its migrant “relocation program.”
“States like Massachusetts, New York and California, by designating ‘sanctuary states’ to encourage illegal immigration and support the Biden administration’s open border policies, will facilitate better care for these people they have invited to our country,” the governor said. said.
“The Future Is Here”
It’s impossible to know what the thousands of immigrants who flock to some of the nation’s biggest cities on trips funded by Republicans are thinking. However, in some cases, at least, they see it as a good option. “We were starving” told CNN Jessica Flores, an immigrant from Venezuela, came to New York with her husband and six-year-old daughter.
“We couldn’t be there. Nothing. Get sick and you die. There’s no future there. The future is here.”
With reporting by CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, Lauren Koenig, Jason Hanna, Travis Caldwell, Andy Rose, Omar Jimenez, Amy Simonson, Polo Sandoval and Ray Sanchez.
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