Ron DeSantis Wants $12 Million To Transport Migrants ‘From Any Point’ in the U.S.

“DeSantis. In his 2023–24 budget, announced on Wednesday, the governor requested $12 million to continue his “initiative to protect Floridians against the harms resulting from illegal immigration by facilitating the transport of unauthorized aliens.” The $12 million would be used “to cover all costs associated with facilitating the transport of inspected unauthorized aliens, including, but not limited to the costs of litigation.”
The request mirrors a provision in the 2022–23 budget that funded “a program to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law” (emphasis added). This time, DeSantis wants to transport migrants “from any point of origin in the U.S. to any jurisdiction.” Spending taxpayer money to protect Floridians, in other words, need not involve anything actually taking place in Florida.”

Biden Deserves Some Credit on Immigration Policy, but He Refuses To Take Responsibility Where He Should

“Biden announced a new carrot-and-stick immigration framework that would welcome tens of thousands of migrants to the U.S. each month and step up expulsions for unauthorized border crossers. David J. Bier, associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute, told Reason at the time that he expected “a meaningful reduction in unlawful crossings by incentivizing people to wait for the legal option to become available to them.””

“According to CBS, unlawful crossings at the border dropped by 40 percent in January—”the lowest levels of illegal migration along the U.S.-Mexico border since President Biden’s first full month in office in February 2021.”

Biden does deserve credit for recognizing that more opportunities for legal immigration mean fewer people are driven to migrate illegally. He could have also mentioned, but didn’t, another thing he’s done right: The plan’s private sponsorship aspect allows ordinary citizens to sponsor Nicaraguans, Cubans, Haitians, and Venezuelans.

He also neglected to mention a big thing he’s done wrong. As migrant arrivals swelled, Biden leaned into Trump-era policies that made the problem worse.

His administration upheld President Donald Trump’s Title 42 order, which has allowed federal immigration officials to immediately expel migrants, ostensibly in the name of stopping COVID-19. Since Title 42 carries no reentry penalty, repeat crossings have ballooned, artificially inflating the number of repeat encounters. The American Immigration Council has noted that from FY 2021 through April 2022, one in three border encounters “was of a person on their second or higher attempt to cross the border.””

“Yet while the president says he supports “comprehensive immigration reform,” his record paints a murkier picture. “Biden has enacted rules that shut countless farmers and small businesses out of the visa programs they depend on,” notes Sam Peak, an immigration policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity. “The fees and bureaucracy alone cost roughly $10,000 to hire just one farm worker….Biden insists on adding more red tape to these programs and fueling a black market for illegal immigration.””

Biden’s Immigration Plan Lays Out a Tougher Border, New Legal Pathway for Some Migrants

“The framework will triple refugee resettlement from Latin America and the Caribbean in 2023 and 2024, for an annual cap of 20,000. Each month, up to 30,000 migrants combined from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba may come to live and work in the U.S. on a two-year status if they secure an American sponsor and pass background checks.

Meanwhile, the White House says “individuals who irregularly cross the Panama, Mexico, or U.S. border after the date of this announcement will be ineligible for the parole process and will be subject to expulsion to Mexico,” which will accept up to 30,000 migrants monthly from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba who have been expelled. Mexico will do so under an expansion of the pandemic-era Title 42 order, which allows for the immediate expulsion of border crossers. Previously, Mexico only accepted Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans removed under Title 42. (It recently began accepting expelled Venezuelans as well.) Unauthorized migrants “will be increasingly subject to expedited removal to their country of origin and subject to a five-year ban on reentry,” according to the White House.

Certain aspects of the framework will likely help reduce the number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has been a great challenge for the Biden administration so far. Under the new parole pathway, migrants can begin the process to secure legal passage to the U.S. from their home countries rather than doing so through an asylum claim (which can only be initiated at a port of entry or on U.S. soil). This could help save them a dangerous northward journey and reduce overcrowding at the border.”

“The pathway for Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Haitians mirrors similar programs established for Ukrainians and Venezuelans last year. Those programs helped reduce unlawful crossings among those groups, says Bier: “The Ukrainian parole program eliminated migration to the U.S.-Mexico border by Ukrainians. Venezuela’s program has already turned migration to be mostly legal.” Last summer, Customs and Border Protection reopened ports of entry to Haitians, which “basically ended illegal immigration by Haitians,” Bier explains.”

From Texas border, New York mayor vows to pressure U.S. government over migrants

“The city spent $366 million on services for asylum seekers last year, and Adams expects that sum to rise to $2 billion through June. Thus far, New York City has received just $8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $2 million from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“This is a national crisis. FEMA deals with national crises. FEMA must step up, and there should be one coordinator to coordinate everything that is happening dealing with migrants and asylum seekers in our country,” Adams said.”

If You Oppose COVID Emergency Powers, You Should Oppose Title 42 Expulsions

“Gorsuch didn’t say that there aren’t problems at the border or that the transition from Title 42 wouldn’t prove challenging. “But the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis,” he wrote. “And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency. We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.”

Policy makers would be wise to scrap the pandemic-era Title 42 order. It’s accomplished the opposite of what proponents promised, leading to more frequent and less predictable migrant inflows. Since a Title 42 expulsion carries no reentry penalty, repeat crossings roughly quadrupled in 2021 compared to their 2019 rate. Smugglers have taken advantage of repeat crossings by charging migrants more for the inflated number of northward journeys. With asylum largely inaccessible at ports of entry, migrants desperate to enter the country have attempted to cross the border in less surveilled, more dangerous terrain. These things have all contributed to chaotic scenes at the border, providing fodder for immigration restrictionists.”

‘Unprecedented emergency’: Dem-led cities and states brace for influx of migrants

“Title 42, an immigration policy put into place during the pandemic, was scheduled to be lifted Wednesday, but Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked the border rule at the urging of 19 Republican-led states, which appealed the plan to open up the nation’s borders again.

The stay by Roberts is temporary, and states are bracing for what’s next if — and when — Title 42 is eventually lifted. There’s added anxiety too over whether Republican governors will transport thousands of migrants to Democratic-led strongholds by bus or plane, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did this year.

Over the last month, thousands of migrants have crossed into the U.S. at the Texas border ahead of the expiration of Title 42, a Trump administration pandemic policy that allows the U.S. to expel migrants in order to stem the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Last weekend, the mayor of El Paso declared a state of emergency to help manage the rush of people while Abbott deployed hundreds of Texas national guard and state troopers along the border to block migrants from entering the U.S.”

“The migrant issue hasn’t gone unnoticed in Congress. Special funding in the federal spending bill released this week could take the pressure off of cities like New York, Chicago and Washington, as they try to handle the rise in immigrants and the challenges to provide shelter, food and other basic needs. Cities could apply for a piece of the $800 million that Congress has carved out to handle the flow of migrants if the spending is approved.

Adams, who earlier this week asked for $1 billion to help New York handle “the brunt of this crisis,” said he was “encouraged” by the federal funding, but said that should just be the start.

“With over 800 people arriving in the past four days alone, it’s clear that we still need a comprehensive strategy at our border and additional resources. We cannot be put in a position where we have to choose between services for New Yorkers and supporting arriving asylum seekers,” he said in a statement. Adams has also called for asylum seekers to be authorized to work before six months.”

When Republicans Talk About Immigration, They Don’t Just Mean Illegal Immigration

“The distinction between legal immigration and illegal immigration is often not clear-cut, though. Consider that only a minority of unauthorized immigrants, 38 percent, entered the country without proper documentation in 2016, according to research conducted by the Center for Migration Studies. Instead, the majority of unauthorized immigrants who entered the U.S. that year, 62 percent, overstayed their temporary visas, meaning they initially arrived in the U.S. legally but proceeded to remain illegally with expired paperwork. Moreover, the Pew Research Center looked at 2017 data from the Department of Homeland Security and found that almost 90 percent of those who overstayed their visas were from neither Mexico nor Central America.
Regardless, this doesn’t change the fact that a lot of media attention remains focused on illegal immigration, especially in the context of the southern border. Republicans are also still probably more concerned over illegal immigration than over legal immigration. When Gallup asked Americans in March how personally worried they were about illegal immigration, 68 percent of Republicans said “a great deal” — 27 percentage points higher than the overall share of Americans who said they were worried a great deal and 50 points higher than the share of Democrats who said the same.

And it’s this overwhelming concern around illegal immigration — regardless of its accuracy — that helps explain why Republican politicians still give the topic so much oxygen in their campaign materials. They know illegal immigration is a huge flash point for their voters — at the very least, this is something I’ve found in researching the platforms of various Republican primary candidates running for state and federal office. And yet, I’ve also found that when you look at the actual immigration policies Republican politicians have successfully enacted, efforts to curb legal immigration have been much more successful than policies meant to restrict illegal immigration.

Take former President Donald Trump. While illegal immigration was a central pillar of his campaign, especially in 2016, his administration proved much more adept at implementing policies that limited legal immigration than illegal immigration. A week after he took office, he notoriously signed an executive order that initially limited immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. Moreover, throughout his four years in office, Trump also pursued a number of measures to uproot the process for asylum seekers, from banning certain situations in which people were eligible for asylum to introducing new protocols that made the asylum process longer. And later, the coronavirus pandemic unleashed a series of travel restrictions from the Trump administration in early 2020 that contributed to an 18 percent decrease in the average number of monthly green cards and a 28 percent decrease in non-immigrant visas compared with President Barack Obama’s second term. Meanwhile, Trump’s early campaign promises to collect and deport all undocumented immigrants never panned out, and his infamous wall — at least how he envisioned it — has yet to be built.

Trump’s policies may present obvious examples, but the former president is not the only one proposing policies that limit legal immigration. Republicans in Congress have also started to take up legislation that whittles down such pathways. For instance, when Republicans controlled the Senate in 2019, Sens. Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley and then-Sen. David Perdue reintroduced the RAISE Act, which proposed restricting family-based immigration policies in addition to instituting a host of other caps. (An earlier version, which specifically outlined halving the number of green cards issued annually, had previously failed to come to a vote in 2017, when Cotton and Perdue first proposed it.)

The bill also explicitly linked legal immigration to the economy with its focus on highly skilled immigrants, which it defined as immigrants who could help with “improving the fiscal health of the United States” without jeopardizing jobs that could otherwise be held by American citizens or as “protecting or increasing the wages of working Americans.””

Civil rights group files first lawsuit against DeSantis over ‘illegal’ migrant flights

“The 35-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Boston offers one of the most detailed accounts yet of how roughly 50 migrants found themselves on two planes that unexpectedly landed in Martha’s Vineyard last week, and trauma their new lawyers say they’ve suffered from their ordeal and from being thrust into the center of the national debate over immigration.

The plaintiffs include three Venezuelan migrants who boarded the planes to Martha’s Vineyard along with their family members as well as Alianza Americas, a Chicago-based advocacy group for Latino immigrant communities.

The complaint alleges that people working for DeSantis were “trolling streets outside of a migrant shelter in Texas and other similar locales, pretending to be good Samaritans offering humanitarian assistance,” including $10 McDonalds gift cards and free hotels while making “false promises and false representations” of employment, housing and educational opportunities awaiting the migrants in either Boston or Washington, D.C.

They were also allegedly told they would receive assistance with their immigration proceedings at their final destination and were “intentionally sequestered” before their departure from Texas “so they could not discuss the arrangement” and so that the migrants “would be less likely to leave or change their minds.”

Instead, the migrants were flown to Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts, where “no one” on the island or “anywhere in Massachusetts” knew they were coming. They were given pamphlets “lifting language” from the state’s Refugee Resettlement Program — which the lawsuit argues none of the migrants are eligible for. And the people who recruited the migrants for the flights were “unreachable by phone” after they landed in Massachusetts.

“These immigrants, who are pursuing the proper channels for lawful immigration status in the United States, experienced cruelty akin to what they fled in their home country,” the plaintiffs argue. “Defendants manipulated them, stripped them of their dignity, deprived them of their liberty, bodily autonomy, due process, and equal protection under law, and impermissibly interfered with the federal government’s exclusive control over immigration in furtherance of an unlawful goal and a personal political agenda.””

“DeSantis has continued to defend his actions, claiming last week that the migrants voluntarily boarded the flights and weren’t coerced. He has argued that Florida’s Republican-led Legislature approved $12 million to transport migrants out of the state, though Democrats have claimed the flights are improper uses of the allocated funds.”

Title 42 Expulsions Made the Border Less Secure

“Customs and Border Protection (CBP) invoked Title 42 in nearly 1.8 million migrant encounters between April 2020 and March 2022, amounting to 61 percent of total encounters. Title 42 allowed immediate expulsion and barred affected migrants from applying for asylum.

Although immigration opponents pointed to those numbers as proof of the policy’s necessity, the figures were inflated. Because Title 42 is a health measure, immigration officials could not impose reentry penalties on expelled migrants. With no disincentive for reentry, the share of encounters that involved repeat crossers jumped to 27 percent in 2021, nearly four times higher than in 2019.

Excluding repeat crossings, the number of border apprehensions resembled pre-pandemic levels. Border hard-liners ignored that point, pointing to headlines announcing record CBP apprehensions. Meanwhile, most would-be migrants were unable to request asylum at a port of entry, opting instead to congregate at the border. That was the natural result of shutting down more orderly immigration channels.”

” The Title 42 order has led to more frequent and less predictable migrant inflows. With proper planning, its phaseout could result in more efficient processing at the border. Restoring the asylum-seeking process, coupled with expanding opportunities for temporary work visas and economic migration, could help prevent both harm to migrants and chaotic scenes at the border.”

Greg Abbott Spent $1,400 a Head To Bus Migrants to D.C. for a Political Stunt

“In early April, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled a controversial plan to send buses full of undocumented immigrants to Washington, D.C. The policy, Abbott said, would “help local officials whose communities are being overwhelmed by hordes of illegal immigrants.”

But it turns out those communities might be stuck footing the hefty bill for Abbott’s busing scheme. According to state records obtained by Dallas–Fort Worth’s NBC 5, bussing costs came out to over $1.6 million in April and May. With 1,154 migrants transported during that period, the per-rider cost was roughly $1,400.

That’s far more expensive than a commercial bus or train ticket would’ve cost—a one-way journey from El Paso, Texas, to Washington, D.C., runs somewhere between $200 and $300 as of this article’s writing. It’s also more expensive than a first-class plane ticket from a border town to Washington, which NBC 5 reported ranged between $800 and $900. And it’s more than the public spends on average to transport a student to school for an entire school year.

NBC 5 notes that costs are so high in part because the state has hired security guards to staff each bus.”

“Costs are further inflated by the fact that buses drive back to Texas from Washington empty, having dropped off their passengers. Texas, however, gets billed for all total mileage.”

“Abbott’s busing plan is by no mean his only expensive anti-immigrant endeavor. He vowed last year to build a wall along his state’s border with Mexico, initially transferring $250 million in state revenues to the project as a “down payment.” A donation page for the wall has collected $55,322,273 as of May 27—unlikely to make a significant dent, given that a section of former President Donald Trump’s border wall in Texas came out to $27 million a mile. Abbott’s border-securing mission, Operation Lone Star, costs taxpayers over $2.5 million per week. That effort also left hundreds of migrants in pretrial detention for weeks or months over misdemeanor trespassing charges”