(NewsNation) — After busing and flying asylum seekers to the vice president’s residence in Washington, D.C., and Martha’s Vineyard, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are facing nationwide backlash as the feud between states and the federal government escalates over illegal immigration.
The migrants being bused are asylum seekers who are now permitted to stay in the United States by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until their petitions to stay in the country go through the system. The migrants have escalated a gubernatorial feud and triggered a humanitarian crisis across the country.
Migrants from Texas were dropped off at Vice President Kamala Harris’ home Thursday morning. As of Friday afternoon, Harris has yet to comment on the buses. Her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, did say that he thought they are “shameful.”
“These people are human beings,” Emhoff said. “They need to be treated with kindness and respect, and they weren’t.”
Florida sent two planes carrying migrants to the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. Massachusetts State Rep. Dylan Fernandes (D) — whose constituents include those of the wealthy island getaway — told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” Thursday the migrants were lied to.
“They were told they were going to be met here with jobs and housing. Some were told that they were going to different cities all over the country. At least one individual thought they were going to New York and some thought there were going to immigration appointments,” Fernandes said.
This comes amid broader backlash from Democrats within the Biden administration and elsewhere.
“They’re using people, they’re using desperate people. People were trying to come here because they’re fleeing communism themselves as a political pawn,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this week.
Biden himself addressed the situation while speaking at the Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala for Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Instead of working with us on solutions, Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props,” he said. “What they’re doing is simply wrong, it’s un-American. It’s reckless.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether transporting migrants across state lines as “political props” broke the law.
“Transporting families, including children, across state lines under false pretenses is morally reprehensible, but it may also be illegal,” Newsom wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland that he also posted on his Twitter account.
But DeSantis quickly shot back, saying that border states and Florida shouldn’t bear the consequences of an immigration crisis alone.
“The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front day, they all of a sudden go berserk,” DeSantis said.
The busing crisis began in spring, when Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to send busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C. and New York City, in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to lift a pandemic-era emergency health order that restricted migrant entry numbers. Abbott began busing migrants to Chicago this summer.
This comes as U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents are arresting a record number of migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. U.S. authorities stopped migrants 1.43 million times at the Mexican border from January through July, up 28% from the same period last year, Customs and Border Protection said.
“Every community in America should be sharing in the burdens and it shouldn’t all fall on a handful of red states,” DeSantis 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,” said Abbott in a statement.
New York Democratic assembly member Catalina Cruz, a native Colombian who immigrated to the United States, agrees with Republican lawmakers such as DeSantis and Abbott that the federal government should do more on immigration. But she decried the way Republicans have handled the situation.
“The federal government needs to be putting their hands in their pockets and saying, ‘We are going to send resources to every state,’” Cruz said Thursday on “Dan Abrams Live.” “It shouldn’t be just one state, but to do it in the way these states are doing it, to use people as political pawns, to just drop them off in the front of somebody’s yard, whether it’s the VP or anybody else, you don’t just do that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.