Why some Republican border-state governors are shipping migrants to other states

Three immigration experts discuss recent stunts by Republican governors, and how they will impact elections in November.

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in 2016.

Immigration is a constant political battle in America, but in recent years we’ve been seeing somewhat unique political actions take place around the issue.

On Tuesday, migrants were flown from Texas to Massachusetts. This stunt was just the latest in an escalating series of efforts by Republican governors to send migrants from their states to Democratic strongholds. In the past month, migrants have been shipped by bus or plane to the state capital and the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris, just to name a few.

Border state governors from Texas and Arizona claim that these moves are necessary as they bear the overwhelming brunt of issues regarding immigration. And it’s true that in America our border states have to deal with an influx of immigrants trying to enter the country. Since President Biden took office, more than one million migrants have entered the country — many who will wait months or years to have their cases heard due to backlogs. This is similar to what we saw under the Trump Administration.

“It seems to be escalating, but there’s a lot of criticism from the left and the right now, which makes me wonder whether this might come to an end.” — Caitlin Dickerson, staff writer.

Listen: Are some border-state governors allowed to ship migrants to other states?



Ruby Robinson is a managing attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. He says that now migrants that were transferred to another state are having a hard time dealing with their immigration court case proceedings.

“What’s so harsh and dastardly about what we’re seeing now, is these people who were duped, many [were] moved to other cities, but their immigration court cases are still proceeding in the district’s where they previously were, even if it were a short amount of time,” says Robinson.

Caitlin Dickerson is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She’s been covering immigration for a long time as a reporter for NPR, The New York Times and The Atlantic. She says that while this is a political stunt, it’s not a terribly popular move for either party.

“It seems to be escalating, but there’s a lot of criticism from the left and the right now, which makes me wonder whether this might come to an end,” says Dickerson.

Linus Chan is a director of the Detainee Rights Clinic and law professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. He says the founders wanted to allow freedom of movements for citizens and non-citizens alike.

“The Articles of Confederation had specific language that allowed the free movement of, not just citizens, but habitants between the states,” says Chan.

Photo courtesy of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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