White House compares DeSantis and Abbott actions to human smuggling
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday compared the actions of two Republican governors who sent migrants to Democrat-run cities to that of smugglers, the latest jab in an increasingly fraught back-and-forth over the issue of migration and the southern border.
Jean-Pierre took aim at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) after they put migrants on buses and planes and sent them to Washington, D.C., Massachusetts and Chicago. She accused the governors of luring more than 100 asylum-seekers, including children, under false promises that they would receive shelter and benefits.
“These were children, they were moms, they were fleeing communism,” Jean-Pierre said. “And what did Gov. DeSantis and Gov. Abbott do to them? They used them as political pawns, treated them like cattle in a cruel, premeditated political stunt.”
She argued it was a clear stunt because DeSantis, whose state does not border Mexico, arranged to fly the migrants to Massachusetts and did not alert authorities there of their impending arrival.
“These vulnerable migrants were reportedly misled about where they were headed … misled about what they would be provided when they arrived, promised shelter, refuge, benefits and more,” Jean-Pierre said. “These are the kinds of tactics we see from smugglers in places like Mexico and Guatemala. And for what? A photo op. Because these governors care more about creating political theater than creating actual solutions to help folks who are fleeing communism.”
DeSantis flew two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts on Wednesday. Abbott has repeatedly made similar moves, including sending two buses of migrants to Vice President Harris’s residence in Washington that arrived on Thursday.
Republicans have argued the Biden administration has mismanaged the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, leading to a major influx of migrants flowing into the country. In sending some migrants to blue states, GOP governors have argued those areas should take on some of the responsibility of caring for them.
White House officials have insisted that they inherited a broken immigration system that is still being rebuilt after the pandemic. Democrats have widely condemned the governors’ actions as pure politics and potentially harmful to the individuals being sent across the country.