The cruelty and absurdity of the Republican governors’ plan to send asylum seekers to so-called “sanctuary cities” has been apparent from the start. For months now, Texas has been transporting immigrants to Washington, DC and, more recently, to New York City as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to expose the alleged hypocrisy of jurisdictions that claim to receive immigrants. Abbott reportedly failed to communicate with local officials in either city about when the buses would arrive or how many people were on them, leading to confusion and chaos in the immigrants’ new homes, which was the planned effort from the start. beginning. Not to be outdone, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently brought two groups of immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. A cinematographer was on board one of the planes, DeSantis provided exclusive footage to Fox News, but no one from the governor’s office bothered to tell locals about the flights. The migrants themselves were tricked into boarding the planes: Some said a woman named Perla told them they were going to Boston, luring them with false promises of jobs, housing and other assistance once they got there.
If the goal of Abbott and DeSantis is to send immigrants to places where they are not welcome, they are failing spectacularly. Residents of the three cities have mobilized to welcome newly arrived asylum seekers and support them as best they can. High School AP Spanish Students on Martha’s Vineyard assisted interpreter for the migrants, who mostly came from Colombia and Venezuela. Support groups in Washington, DC and New York greet migrants at bus terminals and provide them with emergency resources such as food, clothing, and medical care. Still, the fact that migrants are treated as political pawns, and the fact that local officials are unable to do much to help them, has compounded the trauma many have already faced. “I understand they don’t want immigrants in Texas and Florida,” an asylum seeker saying the boston globe. “However, human life is not a game.” Even those who have chosen to come to New York City have faced significant obstacles. This week, a migrant woman died by suicide at a New York City homeless shelter, where she lived with her two children.
It is worth highlighting this cruelty, as well as the efforts made to combat it with kindness. But the fact that immigrants are generally welcome in the cities to which they have been sent is not a happy ending. They still have immigration cases to win, and the Department of Homeland Security, which denies colluding with Abbott or DeSantis to transport asylum seekers across the country, has made sure to make the process as difficult as possible.
As I recently reported for braking, at least 70 immigrants who arrived in New York City this summer had the address of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, a local nonprofit organization, listed as their home address on their immigration documents. Over the course of several weeks in July, dozens of immigrants arrived at the building thinking it was their new home, employees told me, only to learn it was an office building and they had nowhere to stay. Catholic Charities helped asylum seekers get placed in New York City’s shelter system, which is required by the city’s right to housing law to provide housing to anyone who needs it, but to get a roof over their heads. above their heads only solved their most immediate problem.
When Customs and Border Protection releases migrants from its custody after processing them at the border, it issues them a form called a Notice to Appear that includes the address where they will receive updates about their immigration court hearings. The fact that the Catholic Charities office was listed on at least 70 immigrant NTAs meant they may not receive those updates and may lose the hearing as a result, which could lead to a judge ordering them deported. Until last November, CBP was releasing immigrants with no known address with notices to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement instead of the NTAs; the Biden administration ended this practice after Republicans complained that the migrants’ whereabouts were unknown to the government as a result.
This change has only produced more chaos. Migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard had the addresses of random homeless shelters across the country written on their NTAs, attorney Rachel Self said at a recent press conference. They were told to change their addresses on file with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency that has nothing to do with these asylum seekers’ cases. “It is clear that this was an intentional attempt to ensure that these immigrants were removed in absentia when they did not change their address with the proper agency,” Self said. “This was an intentional derailment designed to prevent people from complying with federal immigration policies.” Additionally, some of the asylum seekers had scheduled check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement within days of their arrival in Martha’s Vineyard, and these appointments were scheduled for the office closest to the false addresses on their documentation. of the DHS. “It could not be more clear that this is an attempt to ensure that these individuals are removed even if they go to great lengths to comply with the instructions provided to them,” Self continued.
Given this chaos, a casual observer would be forgiven for thinking that there is in fact a “crisis” at the border, or that the border is once again open to asylum seekers. In fact, the Title 42 removal order, imposed by President Trump at the start of the pandemic, which allows CBP and Border Patrol to quickly expel migrants back to Mexico and, in some cases, their home countries , is still valid. Thousands of people are being rejected every day. More than 71,000 migrants were expelled at the border in August, the most recent month for which data is available. That said, there are some exceptions to Title 42. Of the more than 110,000 people who entered the country and were placed in removal proceedings during that same time period, more than 80 percent were from countries other than Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and The Savior. .
The migrants who are allowed to enter the US to claim asylum, the very people Texas and Florida are sending to sanctuary cities, are being allowed to enter because of their nationality, not because of any sense of concern. humanitarian by the Biden administration. These asylum seekers are in much of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, countries that largely do not accept repatriation flights. Mexico won’t accept them either, forcing the Biden administration to let them into the country even as it denies entry to tens of thousands more.
It is worth remembering that this two-tier asylum system is relatively recent, as is the chaos it has endured. Before the pandemic began, DHS had no way of summarily denying people access to asylum en masse. Abbott and DeSantis aren’t protesting “open border” policies; the border is still closed to many asylum seekers, and the system is stacked against the few who make it across anyway.