May 22, 2024
At least one government official thinks the GOP governors' immigrant busing experiment could backfire.

At least one government official thinks the GOP governors’ immigrant busing experiment could backfire.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said Govs. Greg Abbott (R-TX) and Doug Ducey (R-AZ) could be encouraging more illegal immigrants to enter the United States by sending them on free buses to the Northeast.

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Magnus, a Biden nominee, told the Los Angeles Times that the governors are sending a message, just not the one they intend. Abbott and Ducey, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), say they are sending illegal immigrants to places such as New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in order to give those elite enclaves a taste of what border communities face every day.

But the immigrants themselves may interpret it differently.

“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.

State governments pay for the buses, which are free to volunteer immigrants and also include meals along the journey. While critics have said the busing is inhumane, racist, or even a form of human trafficking, the immigrants themselves have often described the experience as a positive.

Abbott was the first to launch a busing program, sending the first rides to Washington in April. More recently, he has sent buses to the official vice president’s residence. Vice President Kamala Harris is supposed to be the Biden administration’s border czar, but she has visited the southern border only once since taking office. She’ll be in Texas this weekend, but she is not expected to stop by the border during her trip.

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Magnus further noted how social media has affected the situation, with mentions of work potentially enticing other illegal immigrants or even human smugglers trying to manipulate them.

Republican critics of President Joe Biden‘s border approach say his lax enforcement will encourage migration as well. More than 2 million border encounters have taken place between October 2021 and August 2022, according to CBP.

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