Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had sent a group of migrants to Los Angeles, the latest attempt by a red-state governor to provoke progressive California on immigration. Abbott's move expands a program that has sent thousands of migrants to places including Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence in Washington, D.C., as well as to Denver, Chicago and Philadelphia as part of an effort to call attention to U.S. border policy, Politico reports. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has transported asylum-seekers from Texas to Sacramento, prompting condemnations and threats of criminal prosecution from California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said first responders and nonprofits were alerted to the arrival of more than 40 migrants and excoriated Abbott for “using human beings as pawns in his cheap political games.”
The evening’s events marked a familiar cycle: Republicans say they are merely responding to surging migration, and Democrats accuse their counterparts of exploiting asylum-seekers for political stunts. DeSantis and Abbott have defended their migrant relocation programs by saying border towns have become overwhelmed by new arrivals. The governors have taunted blue states that have enacted policies extending services and protections. Both California and cities throughout the state have passed “sanctuary” laws shielding immigrants from deportation, though asylum-seekers who have been processed and cleared by federal authorities have at least temporary legal status. Republicans noted that the Biden administration and Democratic officials have also moved migrants around the country. Newsom has drawn a distinction, saying the White House’s transports were coordinated.