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Busing Migrants Has Gone Nationwide

When Ron DeSantis began flying undocumented immigrants from Texas to Massachusetts and Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) began busing them from Texas all over the country, it was just a publicity stunt designed to get attention. Now it has become a big business, with states spending millions of dollars a year moving migrants around. The red states trying to get rid of the immigrants have two purposes. First, they are still trying to make a point. Second, they genuinely do not want the immigrants and are willing to pay real money to get rid of them. Texas is the leader in the "move the immigrants" contest. In the past 1½ years, it has spent $86 million in taxpayer money to "deport" 66,000 people to other states. Florida is in second place at $12 million. This despite the fact that the Sunshine State doesn't really have much of an immigrant problem because its only land boundaries are with Georgia and Alabama, neither of which border on any foreign countries. Yes, there is the ocean, but the number of immigrants reaching Florida by boat from the Bahamas (50 miles) or Cuba (100 miles) is fairly small.

In most cases, the recipient states are not prepared to process or house the migrants. They are starting to fight back. New York City, for example, now has a formal reticketing program to provide migrants with plane or bus tickets to some other state. The program has become so popular that the city set up a central site dedicated to the program. Arizona has spent almost $6 million moving 27,000 asylum seekers. Denver has spent $4 million getting rid of migrants. Nobody wants them. It is clear from the numbers that moving migrants around has become a very large-scale and serious matter.

In the red states, migrants are tricked onto the buses and planes with false promises that employers are begging for workers at their destination and they will have a job immediately upon arrival. These are simply lies and the migrants are pawns to be used to further the governors' political goals. In the blue states, the programs are voluntary and the migrants are asked where they would like to go. Many of them have friends and relatives in other states they would like to join. If Abbott shipped a group of people to Denver to stick it to the governor of Colorado, but the group has family in Chicago who can help them, Denver is happy to pay for their passage to Chicago. This is done to help the migrants, not to cause a political problem for some blue-state governor.

Paying for all this transportation is a big problem. Few states or cities on the receiving end of the immigrants have line items in the budget for reshipment of migrants they don't want and didn't expect. Joe Biden is begging Congress for funds for them, but Republicans in Congress are not interested. If Biden were to ask for funding to charter buses to Mexico City to send them there, Republicans might actually go for it. But he is not, for both political and humanitarian reasons. (V)

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