On Thursday, a bus carrying migrants and asylum seekers was unceremoniously dropped off at Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence at the Naval Observatory for the second time this year.
The stunt appears to be a part of a months-long strategy enacted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to ship migrants to liberal cities to point out the hypocrisy of their “pro-immigration” politics.
Many of these migrants told news outlets they’d been tricked into getting on planes and buses with the promise of jobs, cash-assistance, and help getting to places to file their claims. But once they arrived at their destinations, they realized those resources were nowhere to be found.
Many of the migrants who arrived in front of Harris’ residence yesterday told NBC News that they had not intended to go to Washington, DC. For obvious reasons, Democrats and immigrant rights activists have not been amused by conservatives’ plan to use desperate human-beings as political weapons.
“We believe it’s shameful that — that some governors are using migrants as a political tool, as a political play, when we should be making sure that we’re doing everything that we can to help — to help folks who are coming into this process in a legal way.” said White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre, in July.
One of the migrants, Jose, who arrived in Martha’s Vineyard earlier this year from Texas, told the Washington Post that he was supposed to go to Philadelphia for an immigration check-in. He says a woman, he identified as “Perla,” said she could help him get a free flight, but once he actually got off the plane realized he’d been tricked along with dozens of other Venezuelan asylum seekers.
Martha’s Vineyard was clearly not prepared for the influx of migrants that arrived, and they had no facilities to process asylum claims. “I felt destroyed inside, tricked, frightened. I didn’t know if they were going to put me in jail, if they’d deport me. I just wanted to get to Philadelphia,” Jose told the Washington Post.
What stands out about the decision to drop even more migrants in front of Harris’ residence last night is that DeSantis is already being sued for his actions in Martha’s Vineyard.
In September, a civil rights group filed a federal class action lawsuit against DeSantis alleging that he’d orchestrated a “predicated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme” to trick migrants from flying from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard.
We still don’t know how the lawsuit will play out, but it seems clear that DeSantis is still willing to play games with migrants’ lives until a court steps in to stop him.