Joe Biden Finally Speaks About The Buses Of Asylum Seekers

“The White House is right to call Governors DeSantis and Abbott out for their cruelty. While Democrats are working to make the immigration system more fair and humane, DeSantis and Abbott are using people fleeing authoritarian regimes as props."

Joe Biden Finally Speaks About The Buses Of Asylum Seekers - SurgeZirc US
Joe Biden Finally Speaks About The Buses Of Asylum Seekers.

Months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) began sending buses of asylum seekers to liberal cities, President Joe Biden addressed the matter publicly for the first time on Thursday.

“Republicans are playing politics with human beings ― using them as props,” Biden declared during remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in Washington, D.C. “What they’re doing is simply wrong. It’s un-American. It’s reckless.”

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This is not the first time a White House official has spoken out on the issue.

When asked about it in July, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre delivered a similarly critical message, noting that many of the asylum seekers – overwhelmingly from Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba – “are fleeing communism.”

However, Biden had yet to speak.

His decision to finally condemn Abbott – and now other Republican governors who have followed Abbott’s lead – came just hours after GOP executives escalated the stunt to new heights.

Biden Finally Speaks About The Buses Of Asylum Seekers - SurgeZirc US
From L to R: Manuel Castro, commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; Gary Jenkins, commissioner of the NYC Department of Social Services; and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D) greet asylum seekers as they arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Sept. 9, 2022.

President Joe Biden addressed the issue publicly for the first time on Thursday, months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) began busing asylum seekers to liberal cities.

“Republicans are playing politics with human beings ― using them as props,” Biden declared during remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in Washington, D.C. “What they’re doing is simply wrong. It’s un-American. It’s reckless.”

This is not the first time a White House official has spoken out on the issue. When asked about it in July, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre delivered a similarly critical message, noting that many of the asylum seekers – overwhelmingly from Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba – “are fleeing communism.”

However, Biden had yet to speak. His decision to finally condemn Abbott – and now other Republican governors who have followed Abbott’s lead – came just hours after GOP executives escalated the stunt to new heights.

Abbott sent two buses of asylum seekers to Vice President Kamala Harris’s D.C. residence on Thursday.

In addition, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) smuggled asylum seekers from Texas into a charter plane and dropped them off on Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island known for its affluent, liberal vacationers.

Biden Finally Speaks About The Buses Of Asylum Seekers - SurgeZirc US
Immigrants gather with their belongings outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha’s Vineyard.

Despite the fact that the White House had been quietly deploying federal resources to help Washington, New York City, and Chicago absorb asylum seekers sent by Abbott, DeSantis, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) until Thursday, Biden was apparently wary of giving oxygen to a GOP governors’ election-year public relations maneuver.

That void was mostly filled by Democratic-elected officials in New York City and Washington, D.C., who were eager to condemn Abbott in particular – and to call his bluff by welcoming the newcomers.

According to Ian Russell, a Democratic ad maker who previously served as political director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Biden’s initial refusal to take Abbott on directly was a wise political decision.

“Why accept their terms of the debate? It would only help them. Don’t let your opponents pick the battlefield,” Russell said.

Biden’s remarks on Thursday signal a shift in strategy, reflecting a belief that Republicans have overplayed their political hand, similar to their overreach on abortion restrictions. And it comes as a relief to many of his progressive allies.

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“The White House is right to call Governors DeSantis and Abbott out for their cruelty. While Democrats are working to make the immigration system more fair and humane, DeSantis and Abbott are using people fleeing authoritarian regimes as props.

“Not very smart for a party trying to build inroads with Latino voters,” Tyler Moran, a former Biden administration immigration policy adviser said.

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