The White House hit back at Republican governors who are sending migrants to Washington, calling their actions ‘cruel’ and ‘inhumane,’ on Thursday after dozens were dumped outside the vice president’s official residence.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre shrugged off questions about whether the border was secure to blame the Trump administration for a broken system.
It comes as Republicans step up their attacks on the Biden administration for border security as they try to make immigration the theme of November’s midterm elections.
‘What I can tell you is the record and the process that we have been using to make sure that we do our best to secure the border,’ Jean-Pierre said from the podium.
‘We do our best to make sure that we fix a broken system that was left behind by the last administration.’
Jean-Pierre suggested a lengthy but uncertain timeline for fixing a system that she said was in ‘fundamental’ disrepair.
‘We understand it’s not like flipping a light switch. This does not happen overnight,’ the Biden official said.
‘This is an immigration system that is fundamentally broken.’
Republican Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida made headlines on Thursday morning for having sent migrants to two new high-profile locations for in return for Democrat-led downplaying of the border crisis.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called Governors Abbott and DeSantis’ actions sending migrants up north ‘cruel’ and ‘inhumane’
Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent two buses full of migrants to Washington, DC outside of the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris
‘I’ll keep saying that it is inhumane. It is cruel, what they’re doing to children and to families,’ Jean-Pierre said.
DeSantis took credit for sending Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a Northeastern playground for the Democratic elite, on Wednesday night. Abbott sent two buses of migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence that arrived on Thursday morning.
Jean-Pierre saved venomous words for DeSantis in particular, whose Martha’s Vineyard passengers were primarily people fleeing the oppressive Maduro regime.
Sending asylum-seekers there, she said, is a ‘cruel, inhumane way to treat people who are fleeing communism.’
Harris ignored questions from reporters about the migrants who were bussed to her Washington DC residence on Thursday morning. Asylum-seekers claimed they strolled across the border easily – days after she insisted it was ‘secure.’
Harris made the declaration in a Sunday interview and has now found herself in the midst of an attack by Abbott against Democrat immigration rules.
She was asked her thoughts on the situation by a pool reporter after giving a speech at the United Against Hate Summit, at the White House.
Harris appeared caught of guard when she was quizzed by a reporter regarding the situation outside her own home in Washington DC
But she chose to ignore the question, and carried on walking to her next meeting in Blair House across from the White House.
One unidentified man filmed outside the Naval Observatory on Thursday told Fox News: ‘The border is open, not closed. Everybody believes that the border is open.
‘It is open because we enter. We come in free, no problem. We came illegally, not legally.’
His words come just four days after Harris told NBC News: ‘The border is secure, but we also have a broken immigration system, in particular over the last four years before we came in, and it needs to be fixed.
‘We have a secure border in that that is a priority for any nation, including ours and our administration.’
But the vice president’s words were made to seem hollow, thanks to Abbott’s decision to dispatch two buses containing 101 illegal immigrants from Eagle Pass, Texas to the nation’s capital.
He did so as DeSantis sent two planes filled with migrants to ritzy Martha’s Vineyard island, off the coast of Massachusetts.
Many migrants who arrived from Venezuela, Uruguay, Colombia and Mexico told Fox News that they thought the border was open
The GOP leaders say they’re keen for liberals who espouse ‘sanctuary cities’ to experience the full effects of uncontrolled immigration, which has hit Texas border cities including Del Rio and El Paso very hard.
Those who arrived on the bus said that they had travelled from Venezuela, with many women, children and families smiling as they got off the vehicles.
Abbott appears to have directly retaliated to Harris’ comments about border security, by sending the latest load of migrants close to her home in DC.
The Texas governor has sent hundreds of the migrants to Washington, DC, New York City and Chicago in recent weeks, but has yet to publicly comment on this latest escalation.
Gov. DeSantis, meanwhile, bragged about sending two planes of migrants to affluent Martha’s Vineyard.
Areas targeted by GOP governors all bill themselves as migrant-friendly ‘sanctuary cities,’ with Abbott saying he’s keen to show them the scale of the challenge his border cities are facing from the ongoing influx.
In a statement he said: ‘The Biden-Harris Administration continues ignoring and denying the historic crisis at our southern border, which has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for almost two years.
‘Our supposed Border Czar, Vice President Kamala Harris, has yet to even visit the border to see firsthand the impact of the open border policies she has helped implement, even going so far as to claim the border is ‘secure.’
‘Texas will continue sending migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, D.C. until President Biden and Border Czar Harris step up and do their jobs to secure the border.’
One of the migrants told reporters that the border is ‘open’ and ‘everybody belives that the border is open’ in a blow to Harris’ comments and President Biden’s immigration policy
Nearly 100 migrants arrived in Washington DC on Thursday morning from Texas, close to the Vice Presidents home by the Naval Observatory
Gov Abbott appears to have directly retaliated to Harris’ comments, by sending the latest load of migrants close to her home in DC
Abbott argues that the border towns of his state of Texas is overwhelmed, and those in New York and DC should be the ones dealing with the crisis.
Eric Adams has slammed the Republican party for their ‘inhumane’ decision to send migrants to Martha’s Vineyard with no warning, and branded Abbott as a ‘rogue’ Governor.
He said: ‘The Republican party they have created a blueprint that all of them are starting to follow. It’s inhumane.
‘For the Governor to send immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard without any coordination is just creating real crisis and that is the problem that we shared to our lawmakers in Washington this is a blueprint that you are going to see start unfolding.’
On Wednesday, Adams admitted that shelters in the Big Apple are at ‘breaking point’ after the Texas Gov bused nearly 11,000 people into the city.
Abbott recently clashed with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the decision, with Lightfoot branding him as a ‘racist’.
She sparked outrage last week after deciding to move migrants from Chicago to a neighboring Republican suburb.
The bus reportedly came from Del Rio in Texas, with some of the migrants unaware of where they were heading
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced in the summer that he would be sending buses of hundreds of immigrants, mostly from South America, to northern states due to the southern border crisis
Migrants in Eagle Pass, 450 miles east along the border, were also reported to have killed a guard dog and begun eating animals in desperation
The Del Rio section of the border, which includes Eagle Pass, has doubled its number of migrant encounters from the previous year to over 376,000 since October 2021
El Paso, Texas on September 14: The federal government has been releasing hundreds of migrants onto the streets of El Paso, as the NGOs and charities that normally assist them once they are released have been too overwhelmed and unable to take any more people
Of the 147 migrants who arrived last Wednesday, Lightfoot ordered 64 of them to be taken to a Hampton Inn hotel in Burr Ridge, where they will be housed for at least the next 30 days.
Republican Mayor of Burr Ridge, Gary Grasso, directed his anger at Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker for using the migrants as ‘political pawns.’
He said: ‘We are very unhappy that nobody from the city, from the state called and told me.’
Mayor Muriel Bowser, of Washington DC, last week declared a public emergency over the buses continuing to arrive from Texas and Arizona.
It will set aside funding to accommodate migrants as well as create the Office of Migrant Services (OMS).
The OMS will provide temporary accommodation, urgent medical needs, transportation and other services for those arriving.
Bowser has twice asked that the National guard be activated to assist with the thousands of migrants arriving at the capital, but they have both been denied by the Pentagon.
Brianne Nadeau, a member of the Council of the District of Columbia, has slammed the governors of Texas and Arizona for the city’s public migrant emergency.
Republican Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso criticized Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for using the refugees as ‘political pawns’ and moving them to the GOP suburb after arriving in her city
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has claimed credit for sending two planes full of migrants to affluent Martha’s Vineyard
She said: ‘So, it’s been said, but it’s worth reiterating, that the governors of Texas and Arizona have created this crisis.
‘And, the federal government has not stepped up to assist the District of Columbia.
‘So we, along with our regional partners, we’ll do what we’ve always done. We’ll rise to the occasion.’
DeSantis has also become embroiled in the ongoing war against the Democrats after sending two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
The affluent area is home to prominent liberals such as the Obamas, Oprah Winfrey and Larry David.
DeSantis bragged that he was responsible for the planes, with a spokesman for his office adding that it was ‘part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.’
They took aim at the Democrat run areas, saying that Massachusetts, New York and California with ‘better facilitate’ the care of the migrants.
In their statement they directly accused those in charge of ‘inviting’ the illegal migrants to the country by ‘incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states”
Each plane is understood to have been carrying around 50 Venezuelan migrants, before they were helped into shelters
More than half of Americans think there is an ‘invasion’ while another one-third expressed worry over being ‘replaced’ by illegal immigrants
His office also took aim at President Bidens open border policies, in a direct echo of Gov Abbott’s complaints.
They added: ‘As you may know, in this past legislative session the Florida Legislature appropriated $12 million to implement a program to facilitate the transport of illegal immigrants from this state consistent with federal law.’
At the same time as these new arrivals, humanitarian crisis is deepening in the Texas border town of El Paso.
Nearly 1,000 migrants have been released to sleep on the streets amid a surge of illegal crossings that is overwhelming Border Patrol facilities.
Border Patrol facilities and shelters in the west Texas town have been overwhelmed in recent days, leading to a flood of so-called ‘street releases’.
Congressman Tony Gonzalez, a GOP US Representative, said: ‘We’ve never seen anything like this. It’s a scene that you would see in a third-world country, not in the streets of El Paso.’