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Democrats urge Biden administration to denounce Republican governors for sending migrants north

A local resident distributes pizzas to a group of migrants from the back of her pickup truck across from the Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas, the US, on September 19, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

A group of Democratic lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have called on the US President Joe Biden administration to denounce a move by Republican governors to send migrants to Democratic cities, comparing it to the “racist” practice of sending Black Southerners to the north during the 1960s.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, 27 House Democrats asked the top security official to publicly denounce the shipping of migrants to Democratic cities by Governors Greg Abbott of Texas, Doug Ducey of Arizona, and Ron DeSantis of Florida.

“The dishonest relocation programs are acts of gamesmanship rooted in racism and xenophobia,” the Democratic lawmakers said. “In 1962, southern White Citizen Councils started ‘Reverse Freedom Rides’ to remove Black people from their states based on false promises. 60 years later, Governors… Abbott, … Ducey, and … DeSantis are using the same ploys to remove immigrants.”

The letter was led by Representative Ayanna Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts.

One group of migrants from Latin America who were sent to the resort island of Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts, have said they were misled by Florida’s Republican administration about where they were being sent and what was awaiting them there.

The migrants and their lawyers told The New York Times that DeSantis had given the migrants wrong information about their destination and promised employment and accommodation opportunities.

With just weeks before crucial midterm elections in the United States, the Republican governors involved in the practice hope the move would entangle Democratic cities in trouble and attract attention to what they call the White House’s “open borders” policy.

While Biden has relaxed some of the toughest restrictions on immigration that had been put in place by his predecessor, Donald Trump, authorities have been blocking hundreds of thousands of migrants invoking a pandemic-era rule known as Title 42.

The White House has previously termed that Republican ploy “petty and dangerous.”

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