Make no mistake, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are shipping illegal migrants to sanctuary cities to alleviate the burden in their states. But the process has come with an additional political benefit: exposing open-border liberals for practicing a not-in-my-backyard double standard when it comes to the vulnerable immigrants they vowed to support.
The images of the wealthy enclave of Martha’s Vineyard rejecting migrants, or the mayors of Chicago and the District of Columbia declaring emergencies for a few busloads sent from the South has catapulted the consequences of illegal migration to the front pages of newspapers and left Democrats facing difficult questions about hypocrisy.
“I heard that the President is scrambling to get his Cabinet together to try to address the fact that you have governors who are helping to relocate illegal aliens to sanctuary cities,” DeSantis joyfully declared over the weekend. “Now, he didn’t scramble to get his Cabinet together when we had millions of people illegally pouring across the southern border. He didn’t scramble to get his Cabinet together when you had 53 migrants die in some trailer in Texas because they were neglected by the federal government.
“You didn’t see him scramble to get his Cabinet together when we had Americans that were victimized by criminal aliens that he let across the border. You didn’t see him scramble to get his Cabinet together when we hit record fentanyl deaths, which that fentanyl is coming across his open border. It’s only when you have 50 illegal aliens end up in a very wealthy rich sanctuary enclave that he decides to scramble on this.”
Democrats have struggled to message against the exploits of two of America’s reddest states. President Joe Biden accused them of playing politics but hasn’t mustered much of a response.
Other Democrats have tried to call the migrant busing a “stunt” or suggested it might amount to kidnapping, while sending a token dignitary to welome a bus or two. But thus far, they have been outmaneuvered so much that even major liberals are praising the GOP governors.
“It is an interesting question for liberals to be like, ‘Hey, let’s have open borders’ or close to it, and then when they come, ‘But it’s not in our states,'” iconic liberal comedian Bill Maher said last week. “And the Texas Governor kind of called their bluff. He was like, ‘Well, you like immigrants so much? Have some of ours.'”
“There seems to be some hypocrisy about welcoming them, but not in my backyard,” Maher added. “That’s what seems different about this.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tried to take a serious stab at it last week, asking the Justice Department to consider whether what Abbott and DeSantis are doing is kidnapping. But that got laughed off when the governors revealed the migrants sign waivers accepting the bus trips.
“Indeed, kidnapping ‘is a thing,’ just not this thing,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, a Democrat, tweeted Sunday, reacting to a MSNBC pundit parroting Newsom’s line. “This claim was also made by Gov. Gavin Newsom. It is legally absurd.”
Several Democrats, like New York City Mayor Eric Adams, are exploring avenues for litigation. But Abbott and DeSantis are making clear they won’t back down.
The Texas governor dropped his latest bus of 50 migrants at the doorstep of Vice President Kamala Harris. “We’re sending migrants to her backyard to call on the Biden Administration to do its job & secure the border,” he tweeted.
DeSantis said his state is also exploring legal action against those who are facilitating illegal migration, confirming for the first time that state grand juries are looking at the issue.
“What we’re continuing to do is use every tool at our disposal to insulate the state of Florida from the negative ramifications of [Biden’s] reckless border policies,” DeSantis said. “And yes, that involves helping with transport. It involves suing on catch and release, which we have done. It’s involved making sure that contractors are held accountable if their facilities are facilitating this into our state.
“And we have a statewide grand jury that’s looking at different types of practices that may be going on in the state that’s exacerbating the problem.”