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GOP governors' border stunts are encouraging crossings, CBP says

The commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Republicans engaging in stunts to demonize migrants are actually incentivizing them.


Republican governors who have been engaging in the cruel spectacle of flying Latin American migrants away from their states are actively contributing to the border crisis, according to the top U.S. border official. 

Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona have spent millions of dollars to fly and bus people seeking refuge in the U.S. to areas with large numbers of Democrats, in attempts to denounce immigration along the southern border. In DeSantis’ case, his state doesn’t even have a southern border, and he admitted that the rate of immigration wasn’t high enough in his state to allow him to turn the flights into a spectacle, so instead he sent planes to pick up migrants in Texas.

Some of the migrants were dropped off in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in Washington. Some were flown to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Others were flown to New York City and Chicago. 

But the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Chris Magnus, told the Los Angeles Times last week that the governors’ actions are actually incentivizing migrants to reach the border. 

From the Times:

“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,” [Magnus] said. Magnus said social media is a strong influence, noting that it is enticing “when migrants hear that there are buses that will take them to locations where they are told they will receive benefits and jobs.” Human smugglers use the same information “to further manipulate and mislead migrants,” he said.

Magnus’ claims give credence to comparisons people have made between what the Republican governors are doing and smugglers — sometimes known as “coyotes” — who make grandiose promises to migrants about the benefits they’re likely to receive once reaching the U.S. In fact, several of the migrants who were flown to Martha’s Vineyard are suing DeSantis, claiming they were given misleading brochures promising benefits they’re not eligible to receive. 

Keep in mind: The governors who have initiated these terrible schemes have arrogantly portrayed themselves as heroic saviors of an ailing immigration system. What they have actually done is like confidently strutting into a busy kitchen and lighting the whole thing on fire.

In reality, Abbott, Ducey and DeSantis are out of their depth, making fools out of themselves and making a bigger mess out of a problem they think they’re fit to solve.