Democratic leaders in New York, Illinois and Texas on Sunday accused Republican governors of carrying out “inhumane” political stunts by busing and flying migrants from Texas to Democrat-led cities under false pretenses and without warning to local officials.
“It is pathetic that these governors are taking advantage of these helpless people, making promises to them to get on the bus and life is just gonna be fine,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
More than 500 asylum seekers have been transported to Chicago from Texas since late August, the office of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said last week. Washington, D.C., has received more than 8,000 migrants since April, and New York City has received more than 2,500 people since August, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) took credit for flying about 50 migrants last week to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Some of the passengers said they were misled about where they were being taken and the job opportunities they would be provided.
New York Mayor Eric Adams (D) told MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show” that his city has a “moral and legal obligation” to provide shelter and aid to migrants and that he reached out to Abbott about coordinating future drop-offs. Abbott’s office refused to cooperate, Adams said, and New York City unexpectedly received at least six more buses of people Saturday night. Adams called Abbott’s actions “inhumane” and “anti-American.”
“In some cases, we had those who were COVID positive on the buses with individuals who were dehydrated ― didn’t have proper food,” Adams said in a separate interview Sunday with CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Some were even tagged, like you would tag an animal.”
Fox News reported that two more buses arrived in New York City from Texas around 7 a.m. Sunday and that more buses are expected to arrive later in the day.
Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar (D), who represents a border district, called for “solutions and not theater” to solve the overwhelming influx of migrants.
“By sending off folks to New York or Chicago, it does bring attention but we want to focus more on solutions on the border,” he said in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “We need to get Border Patrol, we’ve got to get [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement], Homeland Security, the equipment ... making sure that they have everything where they can enforce the law because if we don’t have repercussions at the border we’re going to continue getting 8,000 people a day.”
Durbin, in his NBC interview, proposed his own solution: Congress passing a bipartisan plan that would allow migrants to legally work, pay taxes and undergo background checks upon entering the U.S.
“There’s a desperate need for workers,” Durbin said. “Our birth rate is not keeping up with our demands for workers and in every walk of life that you can imagine, we need more people and there are those who want to serve our country. But we need an orderly process at the border.”
Abbott’s office said Friday that the busing is “providing much-needed relief to our overwhelmed border communities.”
“The Biden-Harris Administration continues ignoring and denying the historic crisis at our southern border, which has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for almost two years,” he said. “Our supposed Border Czar, Vice President Kamala Harris, has yet to even visit the border to see firsthand the impact of the open border policies she has helped implement, even going so far as to claim the border is ‘secure.’”
In a recent interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, Harris described the border as secure but the nation’s immigration system as “broken.” She urged bipartisan legislative action as a solution rather than “political gamesmanship.”
“If you want to deal with the issue, there are practical solutions, which include creating a pathway to citizenship, fixing a broken immigration system, dealing with the root causes of why people are fleeing their home when most people don’t want to leave home,” Harris said. “And if they do, it’s usually because they’re fleeing some harm, or they simply can’t take care of their basic needs if they stay.”