The head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claims that moves by Republican governors to transport illegal immigrants deeper into the interior are acting as a “pull factor” drawing more migrants to the border.
Republican governors have been sending migrants north since April, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott started busing them to Washington, D.C. Since then the operation has expanded to New York City and Chicago. Arizona has also been busing migrants to Washington, D.C., while Florida recently flew migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office says that it has so far transported over 8,000 migrants to Washington, D.C., over 3,000 to New York City and nearly 1,000 to Chicago. Arizona has also bussed migrants to Washington, D.C., while Florida has flown migrants approximately 50 to Martha’s Vineyard.
The governors have said that it is a necessary move to relieve overwhelmed border communities that have been hit with hundreds of thousands of migrants each month. There were more than 2.1 million migrant encounters in FY 2022 alone. They have also noted that the liberal areas are “sanctuary” jurisdictions that claim to be welcoming to illegal immigrants and that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
But the White House and liberal cities have fumed at the moves, with cities claiming they are now overwhelmed and need federal help — while the administration has accused the governors of using migrants to score political points.
CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus is now claiming that it could also encourage migrants coming north.
“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 said in an interview with the L.A. Times.
Magnus said that it acts as an enticement “when migrants hear that there are buses that will take them to locations where they are told they will receive benefits and jobs.”
He also said that smugglers use the information “to further manipulate and mislead migrants.
The governors have defended their transports, and have accused the Biden administration of fueling the crisis with its lowering of enforcement both in the interior and at the border.
“Texas’ inundated border towns are now receiving a measure of relief, and importantly, the magnitude of this ongoing crisis is finally gaining the national attention it deserves,” Abbott said in a recent op-ed. “Americans are now witnessing a startling national security failure that the President continues to dismiss.”
Vice President Kamala Harris took another shot at the governors on Monday, accusing them of a dereliction of duty.
“We’re talking about people who are fleeing great harm, they’ve fled great harm and they are seeking refuge. And talk about pol theater, playing games with people’s lives. There are mothers with sleeping babies getting off those buses,” she said.
Harris repeated her calls for Republicans to work on a “solution” to the problem, which she said included amnesty for illegal immigrants already in the country.