During a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom blamed Republicans for the current migrant crisis and charged the Biden administration for hurting the state in recent years by them sending illegal immigrants to California in a disproportionate way.
Governor Newsom, along with Mexican Baja California Governor Marina del Pilar Avila-Olmeda, and members of the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration, visited a migrant shelter in Mexicali. Back across the border in Imperial County, Newsom also visited a state of California-run testing, vaccinations and resource center (TVRC). The TVRC, which gives migrants coming in screening, testing, and vaccination of COVID-19, also gives migrants short-term shelter, medical screenings, and travel coordination to have them go elsewhere safely and to help start their immigration and naturalization process.
For much of the visit, Newsom blamed Republicans for the current migrant situation, saying that they are exploiting it for political gain and that party members are not looking at real solutions. He also charged that the GOP is only looking at the crisis as a border security issue and not as one that needed more reform and care, even praising President Joe Biden for his border plan.
“On Day One of his administration, President Biden put forward a comprehensive plan focused on securing our border, ensuring Dreamers have a permanent home in our country, and helping businesses address their needs for more workers,” Governor Newsom said on Monday. “Instead of working on real reform, the response from Republicans has been to exploit the situation at our border for political gain. California has invested roughly $1 billion over the past three years to support the health and safety of migrants as well as the surrounding border communities, but we cannot continue to do this work alone. It is long past time for Republicans in Congress to engage on real solutions to meet the public safety, public health and humanitarian issues at our border and in our immigration system.”
“Everyone needs to get off their ideological perch and start dealing with the reality in a comprehensive manner.”
Newsom praises, blames Biden Administration
However, in an interview later in the day with ABC, Newsom slightly changed his tune on the issue, this time blaming the Biden administration and the federal government for sending the state more migrants than they could handle because of California’s TRVCs and other pro-migrant programs that no other state was doing. Only a few months after Newsom issued a debate challenge to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the migrant crisis, as well as for DeSantis sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and other Democrat-blue cities Newsom all but directly stated that he would miss some Trump-era immigration policies, even mentioning Title 42, the Trump administration policy that allowed for the quick removal of illegal immigrants, by name.
“The federal government is sending more and more flights, and more and more buses directly here to California because this state is doing what no other state’s doing,” said Newsom later on Monday. “And that’s absorbing and protecting and preserving our values and advancing them by doing health care screenings, and taking care of folks, and the more we do, the burden is placed disproportionate on us. The fact is, what we’ve got right now is not working and is about to break in a post-42 world unless we take some responsibility and ownership.”
The mixed-blame of the crisis had many observers scratching their heads at what the Governor really wanted to do regarding the increasing migrant crisis ahead of the looming end of Title 42.
“Newsom seemed to like Biden’s overall border plan, but was critical of the execution and just how much of it would rely on California,” said Esteban Leche, a second-generation Californian who assists migrants finding permanent housing in the state, to the Globe on Tuesday. “Compared to other states, California gives a lot of resources to immigrants coming in and helps them nail down the basics. But the federal government has seen this and decided to send even more to California because of how good California was doing in that regard, and that has been overwhelming the system.”
“It was very strange, because he both said that the Biden administration was doing great, then just pummeled them and said that California needed more money for it all. And with Title 42 gone soon, this is only going to get worse. A lot of migrants coming up are fleeing bad situations in their home countries. Venezuelans and Central Americans especially are facing life or death situations, and the US and Canada are the only real safe spots for them. They can’t wait in their home country, so they travel up and are stuck in Mexico at the border. So there is this huge backlog there now. The U.S. wants to make sure those coming in are vouched for, really are fleeing a bad situation, or just generally need to get in quick, but with that many there, again, backlog. And California is now getting the brunt of it.”
It is currently unknown if the TRVC services are to be expanded in anticipation of more migrants coming into California following the likely end of Title 42.
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