The migrant crisis is much bigger than DeSantis’ mistake


If it were possible to distinguish political gamesmanship, secrecy, and apparent false promises, the planeloads of migrants flown from Texas to Massachusetts and paid for by Florida could be considered a public service.

Instead, the planes are now the subject of a criminal investigation and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the new king of gotcha politics, was laughing on Fox Monday night, boasting and promising to send a message to cities that offer sanctuary to migrants. paying Republicans in November.

Too bad everyone can’t work together because by all accounts the border authorities are overwhelmed and there are people who have nowhere to go at the border.

US authorities have recorded more than 2 million encounters with people trying to cross the southern border this fiscal year and more than 203,000 in August alone, new data from US Customs and Border Protection showed. Read CNN’s full report. Many encounters – 22% in the last month – are repeated attempts; 2 million encounters represents less than 2 million migrants.

Many found at the border are still being turned away under the pandemic-related health authority, a federal judge will not allow the Biden administration to end.

But tens of thousands of migrants seeking asylum on US soil cannot return to Mexico, which will not accept migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Migrants from these three countries alone were 55,333 in August.

John Miller, CNN’s chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst, has spoken with US and Mexican authorities and told me that Mexican drug cartels are cashing in on migrants, charging exorbitant sums to cross the border after harrowing journeys through Central and South America.

Once in the U.S., migrants who cannot return to Mexico face an uncertain future as aid organizations attempt to connect them with family and contacts in the U.S. while they await asylum procedures.

When these organizations find enough migrants interested in going to New York, Chicago or Washington DC, they call for them to go to Texas.

DeSantis’ involvement on behalf of Florida is a separate process than transporting migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.

Miller told me that in an ideal world, the US would have some kind of Marshall Plan to stop mass migration from Central and South American countries. In the US, mayors and governors would work together to distribute migrants.

“Right now the politics of the United States is too fragile for governments to think about each other’s interests,” he said.

Migrants cannot stay in border towns, either. Read these reports from El Paso, where migrants are sleeping on the streets because shelters are full, according to the Dallas Morning News and Texas Tribune.

Instead of asking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for help, Democratic El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser is using emergency funds to facilitate his own buses to New York City, where many of the migrants are headed.

“People aren’t coming to El Paso, they’re coming to America,” Leeser said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. “And we look at them and we talk to them and we say, ‘Where do you want to go and what is your destination?’ And then we’ll take them and help them reach their destination.”

The big change, he said, is that unlike in the past, people are showing up, especially from Venezuela, with no money and no place.

“We’re about 50 percent of people today who don’t have sponsors, they don’t have money,” Leeser said. “So we’re helping them and working to get them where they want to go.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Monday that he has been in contact with Leeser but has not received cooperation from Abbott.

While New York will provide sanctuary, he said the city is being overwhelmed, according to the CNN report.

“We’re not telling anyone that New York can take every migrant in the city,” the mayor said Monday. “We don’t encourage people to send eight, nine buses a day. That’s not what we’re doing. We are saying that as a sanctuary city with a right of refuge, we will fulfill that obligation. That’s what we’re doing.”

Bexar County Sheriff-elect Javier Salazar said Monday that migrants brought by Florida from Texas to Massachusetts were “lured” with false promises of work before being sent to Martha’s Vineyard last week.

It’s unclear what laws the operation may have violated, but Bexar said his office is looking into using people as political pawns under “false pretenses.”

DeSantis, meanwhile, said Monday night that the migrants on the planes signed waivers and were given a map of Martha’s Vineyard before leaving.

“Obviously, it was voluntary and all the other nonsense you’re hearing is not true,” he said on Fox.

President Joe Biden’s state of Delaware was bracing for possible migrant arrivals after reports of another unannounced flight from Texas. Read more

CNN’s Ed Lavandera went to San Antonio street corners where migrants approached and were told those offers are still being made.

Julian Cyr, a Massachusetts state senator who represents Cape Cod, said on CNN on Tuesday that the migrants sent to Massachusetts have been given lawyers and are being housed at a local military base.

He said it is impossible to argue that the migrants agreed to go to Martha’s Vineyard because they apparently did not know where they were going and did not notify Massachusetts authorities.

“This was not about engaging the community outside the border in that effort,” Cyr said. “This was not about helping vulnerable families find a better life. This is the use of humans as part of a policy. And that is inhumane and shameful.”

Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who represents El Paso, argued that too much focus has been placed on reducing immigration and closing the borders.

“For the last 30 years as a country we’ve tried to do the same as the Republicans, and we’ve narrowed down the legal avenues,” Escobar told CNN on Tuesday. “When you reduce or eliminate legal channels you’re going to see more irregular migration,” he said.

Congress wants to authorize more processing centers for asylum seekers, including in countries outside the US, to make it easier and easier for migrants to enter the country.

CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez points out that it is unclear exactly how the Biden administration will proceed. He writes:

Administration officials acknowledged on a call with reporters Monday that the increase in migration is a challenge. Asked if the administration is considering moving migrants inland, one official cited an ongoing debate about improving processing at the border.

“One solution that we know is not a good solution is for hostile governors to bus or fly migrants, often deceiving them, to places they had no intention of going without any coordination,” the official said.

Appearing on Fox, DeSantis claimed credit for getting immigration on the minds of voters before the election.

“Immigration and the border, I think, is now … the number one issue,” he told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “And I think the Republicans have an advantage in this, without a doubt. So run it. And then if we get majorities in Congress, Sean, they have to do something with that power to hold Biden accountable on this issue.”

DeSantis is probably right on this point. Republicans have reliably used immigration as an election wedge issue in recent history, especially in 2010, when they won control of the House of Representatives, and in 2016, when Donald Trump won the White House.

In a recent NBC News poll of registered voters, the Republican Party has a massive 36-point lead over Democrats on “dealing with border security” and a smaller but still significant 17-point lead on “dealing with immigration.”

While Texas, Arizona and Florida bus or fly asylum seekers who are in the country legally to await hearings in the judicial system, it’s not at all clear that the average US voter sees it that way.

Asylum seekers from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua often cross the border without documentation, then declare to border agents before being released to await a hearing, a process that takes years.

Perception is a huge consequence. If they perceive it as immigration legalA New York Times/Siena poll released this month said 44 percent of registered voters agreed with Democrats on the issue, while another 44 percent favored Republicans.

But then illegal immigration, a majority of registered voters, 51%, agree with Republicans, compared to 37% who agree with Democrats. Republicans have a similar advantage on the economy, another issue they are focusing on.