White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday compared the actions of two Republican governors who sent immigrants to Democratic-controlled cities to those of smugglers.
Jean-Pierre lashed out at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) after putting immigrants on buses and planes and sending them to Washington DC, Massachusetts and Chicago. He accused them of luring more than 100 asylum seekers, including children, with false promises that they would receive shelter and benefits.
“They used them as political pawns, treated them like cattle with a cruel and premeditated political stunt.” DeSantis, whose state does not border Mexico, arranged to take the migrants to Massachusetts and did not alert authorities of their impending arrival.
“These vulnerable migrants were misled about where they were going… misled about what would be provided when they arrived, promised shelter, benefits and more,” said Jean-Pierre. “This is the kind of tactics we see from smugglers in places like Mexico and Guatemala. And for what? For a photo shoot. Because these governors care more about creating political theater than real solutions.”
On Wednesday, DeSantis filled two planes with immigrants and directed them to Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts. Abbott has repeatedly taken similar actions, including sending two buses of immigrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in Washington.
Republicans have argued that the Biden administration has mishandled the situation at the US-Mexico border, leading to a large influx of immigrants. By sending immigrants to blue states, Republican governors argue that they should take responsibility for caring for them.
White House officials have insisted they inherited a broken immigration system that is still being rebuilt after the pandemic. Democrats have widely condemned the governors’ actions as purely political and potentially damaging.