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The GOP's New Immigration Plan

Written By:

Emily Eames

Publishing Date: 

June 25, 2023

Three US governors have made headlines recently as they try a new tactic designed to curb  President Joe Biden’s immigration policies. Specifically, Governors Ducey of Arizona, DeSantis of Florida, and Abbott of Texas have been very outspoken about their opposition to Biden's new policies.

Since the beginning of 2021, President Biden and Vice President Harris have made an effort to reform the United States immigration system. The goal is to create an “orderly, secure, and well-managed border while treating people fairly and humanely” (White House, 2021).

Biden’s ‘open-border’ policies have been heavily criticized by southern border states as they view the administration's immigration policies as negligent, dangerous, and enabling further illegal immigration. "Our supposed Border Czar, Vice President Kamala Harris, has yet to even visit the border to see firsthand the impact of the open border policies she has helped implement, even going so far as to claim the border is ‘secure.’ Texas will continue sending migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, D.C. until President Biden and Border Czar Harris step up and do their jobs to secure the border” (Abbott, 2022).

Beginning in early April 2022, the three Republican governors started sending what would become thousands of migrants to predominantly blue U.S. cities. DeSantis and Abbott have stated that this new tactic is meant to demonstrate the effects that Biden’s immigration policies have on border states, and whilethese programs are reported to be voluntary to migrants as they enter the United States across the southern border, the degree of voluntariness is currently debated. 

New York, D.C., Chicago, and most recently, Martha’s Vineyard, have been the cities l picked for these new immigration ‘programs’ thus far. This led to the designated cities to be unprepared to provide instruction and services to arriving migrants. 

Fortunately, these cities have been able to quickly accommodate their new residents with food, medical attention, and shelter so far. State governments, churches, communities centers, and members have come to welcome and assist their new neighbors.  

Last week migrants arrived in Massachusetts without the state’s or local’s prior knowledge. This led to 50 people arriving in Martha’s Vineyard without a place to stay, food to eat, or any other resources. Thankfully, the local community in Martha’s Vineyard quickly responded to the needs of their new community members. Even going as far as to set up a play area for kids. Massachusetts Representative Dylan Fernandes commented on the actions taken by the residents of Martha’s Vineyard. "Our island jumped into action putting together 50 beds, giving everyone a good meal, providing a play area for the children, making sure people have the healthcare and support they need."

Martha Vineyards is the newest city to receive migrants from the South. Previously, Abbott and Ducey sent buses to other major cities in sanctuary states and cities in an attempt to Protest Biden and Harris’s policies. Governor Abbott even went as far as to send a couple buses of migrants directly to VP Harris’s home. 

Photo from 2022


While Abbott, DeSantis, and Ducey have supporters for their new 

immigration tactic, they are also receiving backlash. Many are criticizing the governors for using innocent migrants (who entered the country legally) as pawns for their “political stunt”. A White House official condemned August the three governors' actions as both “shameful” and “wrong”. Others fault these programs due to the cost of funding them. DeSantis is reported to have used $12 million of the state budget to fly 50 migrants up to Massachusetts. Abbott spent a little less than $13 million funding his buses. Unlike Florida however, Texas doesn't just use taxpayer dollars, they also utilize private donations.

This influx in new immigration programs developed by GOP governors has left many to shift from debates on immigration to instead focus on the ethics and efficacy of the governors' programs. Many argue that the governors are using migrants as political pawns in an attempt to refute Biden and Harris’s claims on immigration. Others see the governors'  actions as contradictory to their previous efforts. For decades the GOP has been adamant about keeping ‘closed borders’ and limiting immigration into the US. However, their new programs are embracing ‘open borders’ and transporting migrants further into the United States. 


Governor Abbott announces migrant bus arrivals at Border Czar Harris' residence in Washington D.C. Office of the Governor | Greg Abbott. (15AD). Retrieved September 18, 2022, from

Governor Abbott: Texas will continue surging state resources to secure the border. Office of the Governor | Greg Abbott. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2022, from

Governor Ducey signs the most meaningful border security legislation in state history. Office of the Arizona Governor. (2022, June 30). Retrieved September 21, 2022, from

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Mueller, J., & Shapero, J. (2022, September 19). Here's where GOP governors have sent nearly 13,000 migrants. The Hill. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from

Murphy, P. P., Santiago, L., Contorno, S., Santana, M., & Marquez, M. (2022, September 17). Florida budget language that created Migrant Relocation Program would not permit desantis' Massachusetts Flights Stunt. CNN. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from

Simonson, A., Alvarez, P., & Cole, D. (2022, September 16). DeSantis claims credit for sending 2 planes carrying migrants to Martha's vineyard in Massachusetts | CNN politics. CNN. Retrieved September 18, 2022, from

The United States Government. (2021, July 29). Fact sheet: The biden administration blueprint for a fair, orderly and humane immigration system. The White House. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from

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