Much of the country has watched in disgust as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's ghastly publicity stunt of busing migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to Washington unfolds. But one person has evidently looked on with glee: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.
So much, in fact, that Ducey decided to copy Abbott and, starting this week, is sending migrants from his state’s southern border to the nation's capital as well. Both stunts come at a time when conservatives are ramping up their anti-immigrant rhetoric and trying to spur right-wing fury toward asylum-seekers.
In a news release Wednesday, Ducey claimed the bus trips, which are voluntary, are needed due to “little action or assistance from the federal government.”
But contrary to Ducey’s claims, as The Arizona Daily Star noted, the federal government has allocated millions of dollars for transporting migrants to their sponsors once they reach the United States.
That means Ducey’s plan is all for show — and it’s being executed on taxpayers’ dime. When asked why, Ducey spokesman C.J. Karamargin told the Daily Star that "our communities are strapped.” And while that clearly sounds like a reason not to spend Arizonans’ money on xenophobic and performative policies that demonize migrants, Arizona Republicans have previously used that “we’re being stretched too thin” excuse as a rationale for other anti-immigrant policies and procedures.
Last year, Mark Brnovich — Arizona’s right-wing attorney general and a current U.S. Senate candidate — sued to force the Biden administration to continue border wall construction, alleging undocumented immigrants are harming Arizona’s environment.
"Migrants (like everyone else) need housing, infrastructure, hospitals, and schools," the lawsuit stated. "They drive cars, purchase goods, and use public parks and other facilities. Their actions also directly result in the release of pollutants, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which directly affects air quality. "
So we're to believe that these Republicans, from the party of climate change deniers and skeptics, are suddenly worried about greenhouse gases? Seems highly unlikely.
A federal judge tossed the lawsuit in February, stating that Brnovich's arguments linking unfinished border wall construction to an increase in illegal border crossings lacked legal standing.
Like the Brnovich lawsuit, Ducey’s migrant busing plan isn’t a serious attempt to help resolve migration crises spurred largely by strife in Mexico and Central America. Those serious solutions will come via comprehensive immigration reform, which Republicans have shown no interest in passing.
Instead, they’re resorting to theater. And when it comes to xenophobic fear-mongering for political gain, the show evidently must go on.