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Venezuelan migrants are seen at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, Massachusetts, United States, September 14, 2022. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette/Reuters)

Republicans ‘playing politics with human beings’, Biden says

September 15, 2022
Venezuelan migrants are seen at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, Massachusetts, United States September 14, 2022. Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette/ Reuters)

(CNN) — President Joe Biden criticized state Republican officials who have been sending migrants north this year to protest his administration’s immigration policies, accusing them of “playing politics with human beings.”

“Instead of working with us on solutions, Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props. What they’re doing is simply wrong. It’s un-American, it’s reckless and we have a process in place to manage migrants at the border. We’re working to make sure it’s safe and orderly and humane. Republican officials should not interfere with that process by waging these political stunts,” Biden told attendees at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala on Thursday evening.

He added: “It’s long overdue for Senate Republicans to come to the table and provide a pathway for citizenship for Dreamers, those in temporary status, farmworkers and essential workers. We need to modernise our laws so businesses get workers they need, and families don’t have to wait decades to be brought back together. It’s time to get it done.”

Biden’s comments came hours after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre denounced Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in DC as a “cruel, premeditated political stunt.”

Jean-Pierre accused the Florida and Texas governors of using migrants as “political pawns” and said their actions were “shameful … reckless and just plain wrong.”

“The fact that Fox News and not the Department of Homeland Security, the city or local (non-governmental organizations) were alerted about a plan to leave migrants, including children, on the side of a busy DC street makes clear that this is just a cruel, premeditated political stunt,” Jean-Pierre told reporters at a White House briefing.

Two planes carrying migrants were sent by DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday night, his office said. Abbott says his state intentionally sent two buses of migrants to Harris’ residence in the nation’s capital and they arrived Thursday morning. An estimated 50 migrants arrived on Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday on two planes, according to Massachusetts state Sen. Julian Cyr, a Democrat who represents the area. Dozens of migrants were left standing on the sidewalk and in the grass outside of the gated US Naval Observatory in Washington on Thursday morning.

The actions by the governors — both fierce critics of the Biden administration — are the latest series of moves by Republican governors to transport migrants to liberal cities and states to protest what they say are inadequate federal efforts on southern border security.

Jean-Pierre said the migrants were misled about where they were being taken and what would be provided upon their arrival, which she said was “deeply alarming.”

“The children Gov. Abbott abandoned in Martha’s Vineyard, the children that Gov. DeSantis abandoned as well, you know, deserve better. They deserve better than being left on the streets of DC or being left in Martha’s Vineyard,” Jean-Pierre said, erroneously attributing the migrants who were sent to Martha’s Vineyard to Abbott.

Jean-Pierre said, “What they are doing is an illegal stunt, is a political stunt. And it’s really just disrespectful to humanity. It doesn’t afford them any dignity … it is just cruel.”

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