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How Trump Helped Make Busing Migrants a Republican Tactic

Busing Migrants

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In the fall of 2018, President Donald J. Trump approached his aides with an idea he wanted to implement at the border: transporting illegal immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities.

The idea simmered for months, culminating in Trump calling Homeland Security Secretary Kirschen Nielsen.

Mr. Nielsen’s former chief of staff said Mr. Trump wanted to round up immigrants in Republican-controlled states and “bus them and dump them” in major cities. According to former Chief of Staff Miles Taylor, he sent immigrants deemed “murderers, rapists and criminals” to California for refusal to help authorities enforce the government’s draconian deportation policy. I was thinking of sending a bus to places such as

Due to legal concerns, the idea never moved forward in the Trump administration. But he said four years later that his three Republican state governors had bussed thousands of immigrants, not just criminals, out of the border and left Martha’s Vineyard, New York City, and other Democratic-leaning neighborhoods. brought down to the instinctive life.

The former president’s influence on the Republican Party can be measured not only by the election successes of the candidates he supports, but also by the Nativism that has come to define the party’s immigration policy. Inspired by his hardline immigration policies and belligerent style of political theatre, Republican governors of Arizona, Florida and Texas turned abandoned Trumpian ideas into action.

“The Trump administration’s immigration policy is now the gold standard for Republican congressional leaders and even for Republican candidates across the country,” said former Trump administration official John A. Zadrozny.

In recent weeks, three governors—Greg Abbott of Texas, Ron DeSantis of Florida, and Doug Ducey of Arizona—have treated desperate immigrants fleeing Venezuela and other countries as political pawns. has been criticized for being Migrants were sent to blue cities, states and even vacation spots, local officials were caught off guard and lacked a support network for those seeking refuge.

Trump routinely lobbied his administration to go beyond what the law would allow.The practice of transporting humans across the country to score political points – echoes of Reverse Freedom Ride In the early 1960s, when Southern racists sent black families into northern cities as racists, it was hard to imagine how far Republicans had shifted to the right on immigration since the rise of Mr. Trump. embossed.

Todd Schulte, president of immigration advocacy group, said Trump’s family separation program The Republican governor’s move of immigrant buses and planes are two similar “brutal efforts to create chaos” at the border.

A spokesman for former President Taylor Budwich said Trump fought to secure the southern border of the United States and said others were doing what he suggested. “Republicans across the country continue to follow his lead on this important issue and others that support his America First movement,” Gravitch said.

However, the origin of the idea is ambiguous.

Three years before Trump promoted the migrant transportation concept at the White House in 2018, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee publicly raised a similar idea while running for president.

At the time, refugees from the Syrian civil war were arriving in the United States. Huckabee suggested sending them to politically sensitive locations, such as Chappaqua, New York, where Hillary Clinton owned a home. Burlington, Vermont, where Senator Bernie Sanders was mayor. And Obama’s White House.

“There are a lot of people on the left who think that’s what we should do,” Huckabee said in a November 2015 interview with CNN. “Fine. Let them in their neighborhood.”

Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Migration Studies, a conservative think tank that advocates limiting immigration, said the idea of ​​sending immigrants to other cities was “like old chestnuts,” adding that “nobody I just haven’t pulled the trigger,” he added. in addition.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump began talking about the idea with his advisers, according to a former official. But it wasn’t until 2018 that he specifically asked officials to make such a move, recalls a former Trump administration official.

Around the same time, Huckabee’s daughter, then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, suggested transporting migrants that way, the former official recalled. However, this appears to have been raised as a point of contention rather than as a serious policy request. There were no budgetary considerations for it, one former government official said.

Trump’s senior policy adviser and immigration hardliner Stephen Miller was at one point in touch with Homeland Security officials about the concept, but it wasn’t his idea, according to a former official. emphasized that

Administration immigration lawyers questioned the legality of such a move. Congress had not authorized funding for that purpose, they noted. Among White House aides, Trump’s immigration policy was centered around deportation, which he believed did not help drive illegal immigrants deeper into the country.

Among Republicans who have taken advantage of Mr. Trump’s public calls to send immigrants to Democratic-led locations, Mr. Abbott has forged particularly close ties with the previous administration, particularly Mr. Miller.

Texas was involved in a lawsuit related to the administration’s immigration efforts. State attorneys general have also filed lawsuits if the White House does not follow through on its desire to end an Obama-era policy known as DACA, which allowed illegal immigrants brought to the United States at a young age to escape deportation. threatened to wake me up.

During the Trump administration, Miller had what Abbott and one Republican called a “robust relationship.” But a person close to Miller said he hasn’t informed anyone about the governor’s recent actions.

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