Republican officials from southern states are once again transporting migrants to far-flung locales without much or any advance notice.
This time, it’s Philadelphia, where Texas state officials sent dozens of individuals from South America and the Caribbean, including asylum-seekers — who apparently are (generally speaking) legally allowed to be in the United States as their cases move through the relevant legal systems. In a prepared statement discussing the transport to Philadelphia, which was by bus, Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott (who recently won re-election) discussed a so-called “invasion” on the southern border, which constitutes both an inaccurate description of what is actually happening and yet another example of potentially dangerous incitement that an extremist could use as an excuse and cover for action. The mass shooter who attacked a Wal-Mart in the largely Hispanic community of El Paso, Texas, in 2019 used that same sort of language, which Trump has also employed — and from which the then-president refused to distance himself following the incident.
Philadelphia is what’s known as a sanctuary city. That does not mean that undocumented immigrants are allowed to evade the normal rules for living in the U.S., like those dealing with criminal activity. If suspected of a crime, they’re treated essentially the same as anyone else. The distinguishing factor is that local authorities won’t blindly cooperate with federal immigration agencies and muddle local law enforcement operations because of potentially fostering distrust among certain communities and acting potentially outside of a clear legal framework. There are already reports suggesting possible deception by individuals under Abbott targeting the migrants who joined the voluntary trip to Philly, and local District Attorney Larry Krasner indicated he is prepared to deal with the issue.
“Philadelphia remains a sanctuary city, and we will proudly welcome the people sent here by @GovAbbott,” Krasner said earlier this week. “However, anyone who has coerced or defrauded these migrants will be held accountable under the law.” One of those on the Philly trip said he believed those responsible for gathering participants, at least in his experience, were state officials in Texas.
The same sorts of concerns emerged after the DeSantis administration set up transports taking dozens of migrants from Texas to Massachusetts without notifying Massachusetts officials. GOP’er Ron DeSantis, to be clear, is governor of Florida — not Texas! Migrants on his trip were provided false ideas of possible assistance with employment and housing, leading to litigation and calls for investigation. “Philadelphia city officials said they didn’t know what promises or explanations were given to people to get them” to join the recent trek, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday. In the meantime, the notion that the Biden administration has been conducting a policy approach to immigration that in any way reasonably resembles the concept of “open borders” is objectively ridiculous. Huge numbers of people have been turned away at the border, not simply allowed to enter the United States.
Philadelphia remains a sanctuary city, and we will proudly welcome the people sent here by @GovAbbott. However, anyone who has coerced or defrauded these migrants will be held accountable under the law.
— DA Larry Krasner (@DA_LarryKrasner) November 15, 2022