Fact Check: Ron DeSantis Twists Immigration Facts While Defending Flights


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott both set up their highly controversial efforts to send migrants on planes and buses to liberal states as a way to raise awareness about the “historic” crisis in the U.S. to increase the limit.

Mr. DeSantis also claimed it helps fight illegal immigration.

“Biden cannot defend his policy of open borders,” DeSantis said at an event Tuesday. “It is causing enormous damage to our country.”

So, how historical is the current border situation? Is Joe Biden creating an “open border” responsible for these trends? And were the migrants on the Martha’s Vineyard flight in the US illegal?

Here’s what you need to know:

Are record numbers of immigrants going to the US?

Indeed, a historic number of people have crossed the US-Mexico this year.

More than 2.1 million migrants have been found at the border so far in fiscal year 2022, according to the US Customs and Border Protection.

That’s already more than the 2021 total, which barely surpassed previous records from the 1980s and early 2000s, as the Pew Research Center noted in an analysis.

For what it’s worth, the record year of 2021 also included the last few weeks of the Trump administration, but it’s unlikely you’ll hear much about that from partisans like Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Abbott.

Is Joe Biden Creating “Open Borders” That Boost Immigration?

Republicans like to talk as if Joe Biden’s border is a lawless place, without any touch from US officials, and also portray his administration as one that has wiped out any trace of the Trump White House’s harsh policies.

“He inherited a boundary that wasn’t,” Mr. DeSantis said Tuesday. “He has created a crisis.”

This is not quite correct.

In fact, the Biden administration’s boundary is very similar to that under the Trump administration.

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For example, President Biden is still building the border wall along the US-Mexico border, a project that remained incomplete at the end of the Trump administration — “open,” perhaps, to use Mr. DeSantis’s expression.

The Trump administration’s controversial Remain in Mexico program, which forced asylum seekers to wait on the Mexican side of the border while their applications were processed, was in effect until June.

And Mr. Biden has continued to use Mr. Trump’s title 42 to great effect. The policy, an alleged pandemic measure devised by the arch-immigration adversary Stephen Miller reportedly over the CDC protests, allows immigration officials to deny asylum seekers entry on Covid grounds before they even enter the U.S. and start an immigration procedure.

According to a Pew analysis, the Biden administration has already executed the vast majority of the approximately 2.2 million Title 42 evictions that have occurred since the policy went into effect.

Evictions this year under the health rule, which the Biden administration renewed in August despite previous plans to lift it, appear well on track to surpass the 1.07 million implemented in 2021, according to statistics from the United Nations. border patrol.

Border officials also note that in addition to all the usual, nuanced drivers of immigration to the US — poverty, climate change, the legacy of US foreign intervention — political instability off US shores is a huge factor.

“Failing communist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba are fueling another wave of migration across the Western Hemisphere, including the recent surge in encounters on the southwestern US border,” said CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus in a recently released enforcement update.

And even during the Trump administration, harsh policies like Remain in Mexico and Title 42 didn’t stop border crossings from trying their luck over and over until they entered the US, analysis and the Border Patrol show.

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“There will never be a point of militarization where the US can get the border to that would completely stop all these flows,” said Jessica Bolter of the Migration Policy Institute. TNZT at the end of the Trump administration.

“The environmental and security push factors driving people to leave, as well as economic push factors, especially during and in the wake of the pandemic – there will always be reasons to migrate.”

Were the migrants on the Martha’s Vineyard flight ‘illegal’?

Ron DeSantis has also falsely claimed that the migrants his government sent airplanes into liberal areas were criminals.

In fact, they exercised rights protected by US and international law by applying for asylum in America.

When news broke last week about DeSantis’ migrant flights to Massachusetts’ Martha’s Vineyard, its communications directors defended the policy, saying it was a legitimate use of state resources to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.”

However, the 48 migrants on the plane, many of them Venezuelans, were in the country legally.

They had already reported to the immigration service and were waiting for the asylum procedure.

After reaching the border and turning to authorities, migrants seeking asylum must undergo “credible fear screening” to determine whether returning to their home country could expose them to further persecution or threats. After a screening, they are released pending a hearing on their asylum case.

It was at this point, near the Migrant Resources Center in San Antonio, that the group of migrants targeted by people ostensibly working through Governor DeSantis’ operation was sent to Massachusetts.

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Critics argue that it was the Florida governor himself who broke the law.

The migrants on the Martha’s Vineyard flight filed a class action lawsuit against the Republican on Tuesday, alleging they were tricked into the international flights with false promises of work, housing support and other services.

“Plaintiffs have led lives caused by violence, instability, insecurity and abuse of trust by corrupt government officials that most Americans can barely imagine,” the lawsuit said.

“They fled to the United States in a desperate attempt to protect themselves and their families from gang, police and state violence and the repression of political dissidents. To put it simply, Plaintiffs, and the class of individuals in the same position they seek to represent, are vulnerable in a way and degree that almost defies verbal description.”

Local Texas officials are investigating whether Mr. DeSantis’ plan violated any laws.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, has argued that it amounts to kidnapping and has urged the Federal Justice Department to investigate.

Is Mass Migration a Big Problem in Florida?

Governor DeSantis has made himself the face of the anti-immigration movement with his migrant flights to Florida, but there’s something remarkable about that: Mass migration isn’t much of a factor in Florida, and the flights themselves have started picking up migrants in Texas, a state. which is much more in touch with cross-border migration from Mexico.

“We’re not seeing any mass movements of them to Florida,” Mr. DeSantis said at an event Tuesday, describing a slow trickle of migrants entering the Sunshine State “in onesie twosies.”

The data supports this.

According to the most recent Border Patrol figures, the border sector encompassing Florida was about 400 times less crowded than that in the Southwest.


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