Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, had harsh words for GOP Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas over their continued tactics of ferrying migrants to liberal areas to argue that the White House mismanages the US-Mexico border when it comes to illegal immigration.
The latest example came on Wednesday when 50 migrants, most from Venezuela, were airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, as part of a DeSantis-sponsored program. Reports since then have alleged that the migrants were legally in the country under an asylum program and were convinced to board the flight under false pretences.
In response, Ocasio-Cortez, an outspoken member of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, tore at Republican leaders, echoing others who have accused them of human trafficking.
“It is appalling that far-right politicians seem to have decided that falling before an election is their usual time to commit crimes against humanity against refugees,” the MP tweeted on Friday evening. “Don’t normalize this. Lying and trafficking people for TV and clicks is not politics as usual. It’s abuse.”
She later noted the disconnect between the modern conservative view of immigration and the pride many take in their immigrant ancestry.
“Not the people who call others ‘illegals’ when they fondly remember their last name is spelled the way it is because their great-grandfather came to the United States with the equivalent from a misspelled post-it,” she wrote in a tweet thread. “By today’s standards, most American families would have [been] considered undocumented or trafficked at some point in their family history. For the most part, people didn’t need lawyers and years of treatment to come to the United States until immigration became a racialized issue. Remember this.”
On Saturday, the congresswoman called out a tweet from GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who claimed the migrants were being “kicked out” from Martha’s Vineyard. However, the migrants have voluntarily agreed to be transported to Joint Base Cape Cod on the mainland, where personnel will be better equipped to meet their needs.
“They weren’t kicked out,” she tweeted in response to Cruz. “They were brought to the shelter of the United States. Without your help. Why lie and traffic Venezuelan refugees? For votes? we can count on you because, it is to be una vergüenza.”
On Saturday afternoon, seven more buses carrying asylum-seeking migrants arrived in New York from Texas as part of Abbott’s ongoing plan. DeSantis also pledged to continue the migrant transport program despite recent criticism.
On Friday, DeSantis’ spokesperson defended the governor’s decision and said Newsweek in a statement that it’s part of Florida’s “relocation program,” which aims to bar human smugglers and traffickers from arriving in the state. It also prevents “illegal aliens on the southern border from entering Florida.”
“Florida continues to advocate against Biden’s catch and release policy and has launched a statewide grand jury to examine the harmful effects of illegal immigration statewide,” the statement read. .
Despite the plan professed by GOP leaders to expose the hypocrisies of Democratic acceptance of immigrants, migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard have been met with an outpouring of support. Community members helped set up shelters and provided meals for families, and set them up with lawyers to help them resolve their legal situations.
Newsweek contacted the offices of DeSantis and Abbott for comment.