Sep 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Where GOP governors are transporting migrants

Where GOP governors have sent migrants
Data: Axios research; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

Republican governors have transported over 10,000 migrants from the southern border to Democratic strongholds this year, sparking a political firestorm over immigration policies less than two months before November's midterm election.

The big picture: The tactic, started by the governor of Texas in April, reached a fever pitch after migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard and dropped off in front of the vice president's house last week.

  • The months-long effort spanning multiple cities is a campaign by GOP governors to challenge President Biden's border policies, which they say have led to a record number of southern border crossings.
  • Here's a look at when GOP governors have transported migrants, the majority of whom are seeking asylum from Venezuela, since the spring — and how those U.S. cities are responding.

Washington, D.C.

  • The vast majority of migrants transported from the southern border have been sent to Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier this month declared a public emergency over the influx of migrants.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said last week that his state has bused more than 8,000 migrants to Washington, D.C. since April.
  • In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey has said that his state has transported some 1,800 migrants on at least 50 different buses to D.C. since May.
  • Abbott in April sent the first group of migrants via charter bus to Washington's Union Station, after the Biden administration ended Title 42, a pandemic-era immigration policy to expel migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • About a month after Abbott transported the first buses of migrants to the nation's capital, Ducey followed suit, also sending dozens of buses of migrants to D.C.
  • "With Arizona community resources under all-time demand, and little action or assistance from the federal government, individuals who entered Arizona seeking asylum have the opportunity to voluntarily be transported to Washington, D.C.," Ducey said in a statement.
  • Last week, buses sent by Abbott dropped off roughly 100 migrants outside Harris' residence in D.C.

New York City

  • Abbott in August began transporting migrants to New York City, dropping them off at the city's Port Authority Bus Terminal.
  • "In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city,” Abbott said in a news release.
  • Texas has bused more than 2,5000 migrants to New York City since Aug. 5, Abbott said last week.
  • Mayor Eric Adams has said that the migrants arriving in New York City are largely being sent to shelters in a system that is "nearing its breaking point," as beds are running out for individuals seeking a place to stay.


  • Abbott later in August also sent a bus of migrants to Chicago, dropping them off at the city's Union Station.
  • Another round of migrants was transported to Chicago this week, bringing the total number of migrants dropped off in the city to around 800, per ABC 7 Chicago.
  • Mayor Lori Lightfoot is asking the city's residents to help support the migrants arriving in Chicago.

Martha's Vineyard

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last week sent two planes of migrants, carrying approximately 50 migrants, to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.
  • The undocumented migrants flown to the island filed a class action lawsuit this week against DeSantis and other Florida officials, alleging that they were given misleading information.

What to watch: The campaign of transporting migrants to Democratic-led cities is unlikely to stop anytime soon. DeSantis, for instance, has said that he plans to spend millions that Florida has budgeted to continue the practice.

Go deeper... Lawyers for Martha's Vineyard migrants urge Feds to open criminal probe

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