Sep 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Border chief: GOP governors are "lying" to migrants, worsening crisis

Chris Magnus

Customs and Border Protection commissioner Chris Magnus. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration's top border official blamed Republican governors for luring more migrants to the U.S. with promises of free relocation to Washington, New York and elsewhere, NBC News reported Friday.

Driving the news: Chris Magnus, the Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey are "lying" to migrant families about housing, job opportunities and other support they will receive once they're in the northern cities.

  • Magnus pushed back on Republican claims that an influx of asylum seekers was causing "chaos" on the southern border. He defended Border Patrol's work, saying that federal agents are working with migrants as they arrive.

What he's saying: "People across the country should know that it’s not chaos here," Magnus said. "People that are coming into our custody here are then processed, and many of them are seeking asylum. So if some of them are released into the country, they're doing so legally. They still have a date to appear for an asylum hearing."

The big picture: More than 10,000 migrants who arrived in Texas have been flown or bused since the spring to Democrat-led cities, in what Republicans have cast as a challenge to President Biden's border policies.

  • Since sending 50 migrants to Martha's Vineyard last week, DeSantis has faced a sharp backlash from Democrats and immigration advocates, who have said he and the other Republican governors are carrying out a cruel political stunt.
  • Lawyers who represent about 30 of the migrants are asking the Massachusetts attorney general and federal officials to open criminal investigations into Desantis' actions.
  • The Biden administration has signaled it is considering legal options to halt the relocations.

Meanwhile, DeSantis has said he plans to continue the transports, which Florida has budgeted millions for. He maintains the migrants took the flights voluntarily.

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